WASHINGTON – A US Army reservist and Iraq veteran who works as a cabdriver has been attacked by a passenger who fractured his jaw, accusing him of being a terrorist because he is Muslim, in a crime described by Islamic rightist groups as a hate crime.
“This incident appears to meet the exact scenario Attorney General Holder spoke about recently, and we hope the Justice Department will push for maximum charges,” Nihad Awad, National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said in a statement obtained by OnIslam.net.
“The individual allegedly targeted in this attack served his nation and deserves better than slurs and abuse.”
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The incident occurred last week when the victim, Mohamed A. Salim, picked up early Friday at a Northern Virginia country club.
Comparing Salim to the men accused of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing, the passenger accused him of being a terrorist because he is Muslim, then fractured his jaw and threatened to kill him.
He also said that the Qur’an directs Muslims to kill nonbelievers and then repeatedly and loudly demands that Salim denounce the Sept. 11, 2001, attackers.
"If you're a Muslim, you're a [expletive] jihadist," the passenger says in a video which Salim took on his phone.
"You are just as bad as the rest of them."
Medical records show that Salim was treated for a fractured jaw and a head injury.
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims.
An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.
Since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, many Muslims have complained of facing discrimination and stereotypes in the society because of their Islamic attires or identities.
A recent report by the umbrella Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has found that Islamophobia in the US is on the rise.
The attack showed a growing trend of anti-Muslim attacks since Boston bombings.
“With the sharp spike in anti-Muslim rhetoric we have witnessed since the tragedy in Boston, it was inevitable that a tiny minority of bigoted individuals would turn hate speech into acts of violence," Gadeir Abbas, Staff Attorney at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who is representing Salim, said.
"We urge prosecutors to look at the clear evidence of hatred based on religion, race and national origin, and then bring appropriate felony charges in the case."
Salim incident is not the first after everal other bias-motivated incidents targeting Muslims may have been linked to the Boston bombings.
Despite condemnations from the Muslim community, fear-mongering against Muslims led to attacks on innocent Muslims in New York and Massachusetts.
In Malden, Massachusetts, a mother of Middle Eastern heritage wearing hijab was assaulted on Wednesday morning by a white male shouting anti-Muslim slurs.
A Bangladeshi man was also beaten by white Americans at New York City Applebee's because of the color of his skin.
Media and right-wing pundits began inflaming passions against Muslims again, beginning a new round of Islamophobia.
Some, like Republican Representatives Steve King and Louie Gohmert, even used the attacks to call for halting plans to reform immigration policies on claims of fighting terrorism.
They justified their calls that radical Muslims were training in Mexico to learn how to do “Hispanic things” and sneak across the border and kill Americans.
Another Republican Peter King has also called for putting the whole Muslim community under surveillance.
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