Assault of Muslim Man in NYC Comes amid Rising Islamophobia Nationwide
By Laurel Raymond
A Muslim man was assaulted and beaten after leaving his mosque in Queens, New York last Wednesday in an incident advocates are urging police to investigate as a possible hate crime.
Mohammed Rasheed Khan, 59, left prayers at the Center for Islamic Studies in Jamaica, Queens, around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday night. According to CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher, he got on his bike to make the short trip home, and before he’d even traveled half a block, he was assaulted by three men who repeatedly punched him in the head and face. He’s now suffering from at least five broken bones in his face, including his nose and eye socket, along with a concussion and fractured ribs. He’s due to have surgery today.
The suspects, whom police are still looking for, didn’t steal Khan’s wallet, watch, or bicycle, and were reportedly seen laughing as they left the scene of the attack.
CAIR-NY and the victim’s family have requested that the NYPD conduct a full and thorough investigation, including an investigation into if there may have been a biased motive. According to local reporting , hate crime investigators have been notified.
“Usually something like this, if there was a robbery you may say that that was the motive — but he was coming out of the Islamic center, he was dressed in traditional attire so he was identifiably a Muslim, and nothing was stolen,” Nasher told ThinkProgress. “We think it’s worth investigating to see if there was a biased motive.”
Although this incident is still under investigation — which is complicated, Nasher said, in part because Khan’s injuries are so grievous he’s physically unable to speak to detectives — there’s been a marked rise in Islamophobic incidents in the United States in the past year.
“Generally speaking, without a doubt there’s a rise in biased incidents and hate crimes all across the United States and New York,” Nasher said. “That’s just the facts...” - Think Progress