The Way We Live Now, a continuing series
Last week, a lounge singer was arrested on suspicion of racism for singing the Frank Sinatra classic “I’ll Do it My Way.”
The song, performed by Durka Mohammed, 28, a native of Somalia, is said to have offended a Westchester couple as they walked past the Hindu Kush Bar in Manhattan.
The entertainer regularly performs the 1967 hit, but when the passers-by — identified by police as Ms. Mary Smith, 34, and Jane Farnsworth, 36, of Bronxville — reported his routine on Sunday, Mr. Mohammed was arrested for racially aggravated harassment.
“We were performing ‘My Way,’ as we always do — it’s a crowd favorite,” said Mr. Mohammed, “and these two blonde ladies walked by and started swearing at us, making obscene gestures, and taking pictures. ‘DO what your way?’ one of them kept screaming.”
Smith and Farnsworth called the police, who later apprehended Mr. Mohammed when he was eating at Le Bistro Français, a nearby restaurant.
An NYPD spokesman said Ms. Smith and Ms. Farnsworth had felt racially and sexually abused by the song. “If a victim believes a crime is racially or sexually aggravated,” he said, “the police will treat it seriously.” Investigations into the incident are continuing.
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OK, sorry: I made that up. It never happened. Mr. Mohammed, whose full name is “Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad,” doesn’t exist, and the Westchester babes are completely fictional. But the incident, with a few ethnic and other adjustments, is utterly real, as we'll explore after the page jump.