starofdavidtat.jpgOne of the ten suspects arrested in the Q train beating of a Jewish man during Hanukkah is saying that hate crime charges are completely uncalled for because he himself is Jewish. Joseph Jirovec Jr. was arrested two weeks ago after a group of Hanukkah revelers was beaten while on a the Q train after wishing happy holidays to other riders. Members of a crowd on the train took objection to the Jewish greetings and a beatdown ensued. In an encouraging twist, it was a young Muslim man who came to Walter Adler's aid. Hassan Askari was recently honored for his interfaith Good Samaritanism.

Two weeks later, Jirovec Jr. is claiming innocence of a hate crime due to the fact that his mother was Jewish. In a religious sense, that would make Jirovec Jr. Jewish as well, although his father is Catholic and Jirovec Jr. and his brother were not raised religiously. Ironically, one of Adler and Askari's attackers were sporting a tattoo of Jesus, which they bared before the fight. Jirovec Jr. appears to sport tattoos in photos we've seen, although that is generally proscribed by the Jewish faith.

Jirovec Jr.'s defense is uncannily reminiscent of Michael Fortunato's, who defended himself against the hate crime murder charge of Michael Sandy by proclaiming that he couldn't be guilty of a murder where he and his friends lured Sandy to a remote location and beat and chased him onto a highway, where he was fatally struck by a car, because he was in fact gay. In the end, Fortunato was found guilty of a manslaughter charge only.