NEW YORK – A Muslim woman came under a xenophobic attack in New York on Wednesday when a homeless man threw piping hot coffee on her face.
34-year-old Nathan Gray walked into a Dunkin Donuts shop in New York near Seventh Ave. at about 2:45 p.m and asked for a cup of coffee.
After taking the coffee, he chose to sat near a group of Muslim women in the shop and reportedly tried talking to them besides saying ‘Terrorists!’.
The women ignored him completely and ate their food. One of the women apparently retaliated and called the man ‘stupid’. That made Gray lose his temper and he threw coffee straight onto the woman’s face.
‘I gave him coffee and he said something to me about terrorists, but I couldn’t hear what he was saying. He walked away from me and sat next to a group of Muslim women,” the store employee said.
‘He started talking to them and I could hear him saying, ‘Terrorists!’ she added.
After the attack, the woman rushed out of the shop and Gray put her in a headlock, according to the police. Meanwhile, cops arrived on the scene and took Gray into custody, charging him with assault as a hate crime.
Hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise in the USA and Europe, ever since Donald Trump won the presidential tussle with a landslide margin.
According to FBI, last year, there were 257 reported incidents of anti-Muslim bias compared to 154 the year before, suggesting a 67 percent increase. The number of reported hate crimes against Muslims peaked at 481 in 2001, following the 9/11 carnage.
Overall, the number of hate crimes reported by law enforcement agencies to the FBI increased 6.7 per cent, from 5,479 incidents in 2014 to 5,850 last year.
The total is far lower than the numbers seen in the early 2000s, but the FBI release comes amid numerous reports of attacks nationwide based on race and religion following Donald Trump’s victory.
According to the FBI report, the majority of hate crimes were motivated by bias against race or ethnicity. Of the 4,216 victims of hate crime motivated by race or ethnicity, 52% were black, 18.7% were white and 9.3% were Hispanic or Latino. Crimes against Jews increased about 9%.
Civil rights groups are urging the US authorities to put an end to the burgeoning racism and xenophobia in the country in the aftermath of Trump’s victory.