Niles man accused of Chicago hate crime wore fake 'Hitler' mustache in Facebook post: prosecutors

Bail has been set at $250,000 for a Niles man accused of spray-painting yellow swastikas on a synagogue and on the grounds of a Jewish high school in Rogers Park last weekend.

Judge Barbara Dawkins called the allegations against Shahid Hussain, 39, "a textbook case of a hate crime" during a hearing Tuesday.

Hussain faces four counts of a hate crime as well as charges of criminal damage and defacement.

Dawkins ordered Hussain to stay away from the place he allegedly damaged if he is released from jail.

"Yes, your honor, I was…" Hussain started to respond before trailing off.

An assistant public defender said Hussain had been diagnosed with "mental health issues," which the judge said she was taking into consideration.

But Dawkins noted that Hussain’s criminal background includes convictions for burglary and driving under the influence, as well as a forgery charge. 

He was on parole for that last charge when he allegedly damaged the buildings.

The swastikas were discovered Sunday on a wall of the F.R.E.E. Synagogue at 2935 W. Devon Ave. and on a shipping container used by the Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov High School at 3021 W. Devon Ave., according to police.

Hussain is also accused of shattering a glass door and cracking another at a synagogue several blocks away, in the 2800 block of West North Shore, police said.

He also allegedly kicked in a side window at a synagogue in the 3600 block of West Devon, where two teens in a dormitory saw Hussain wearing a cape and a red hat as he yelled outside about "Jews" while breaking lights, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

Hussain was seen on video miming with his hands as if he was racking and firing a shotgun as he walked around the building, Murphy said.

In a post on Facebook, Hussain wore a false "Hitler" mustache and made "Nazi-like" arm salutes while admitting to causing some of the damage, Murphy said.

Broken windows at businesses in the area are still under investigation, Murphy said.


Hussain works as a machine operator, lives with his mother in Niles and has two young children, his defense attorney said.

Court records show Hussain has been arrested six times in Cook County and has twice been convicted of felonies.

He was most recently sentenced to 12 months probation last September after pleading guilty to a stalking charge.

Hussain also pleaded guilty in 2014 to a felony count of aggravated driving under the influence and was sentenced to 90 days in Cook County Jail and 12 months probation, though he repeatedly violated the terms of his release and the case was extended.

In 2017, he pleaded guilty to a felony count of forgery and was sentenced to two years in the Illinois Department of Corrections, records show. The same day that case ended, the sentence in his other felony case was amended and he was given the same sentence.

He is expected back in court on Feb. 7.