With heated presidential debate on an uptick, so are hate crimes. A Muslim man dressed in traditional garb for someone from South Asia was attacked in the Bronx and beaten on Friday by two men wearing ski masks while chanting “ISIS” and “Muslim” during the assault.
43-year-old Mujibur Rahman, a father of three from Bangladesh, ended up in the hospital with a possible broken rib, cuts, swelling and bruises on his head, face and arm.
“I believe as a Muslim they hate us, they hate me, and that’s why,” Rahman told WABC-7.
On Friday around 5:30 p.m., Rahman was wearing traditional clothing – a punjabi and tupi. He had come to PS 119 to pick up his niece from school. As he walked out of the gate, hand-in-hand with the young girl, he says two young men wearing ski masks came up behind him, and started kicking and punching him, all the time yelling about one thing – the words ‘ISIS’ and ‘Muslim’.
Rahman said that he will never forget the attack, and neither will his niece, who witnessed the beating that left her uncle badly injured and unconscious on the sidewalk. “Blood was everywhere – non-stop,” recalled the victim’s brother, Mohammed.
The victim was not robbed, but instead, the the suspects fled the scene after the assault.
Even after being viciously assaulted, the victim said that he will not change what he wears, or where he goes.
“To be attacked this way, to attack someone because of their faith is something we cannot tolerate in this community,” said Bronx Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda.
Rahman was sent to Jacobi Medical Center, where he was treated and released, while the girl was physically unharmed, however, the nine-year-old is afraid to go outside now.
“She could not sleep at night,” the victim said, according to NY1. “She said she didn’t want to go back to school anymore. Really in fear.”
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating to find those responsible for the assault.
“This particular man never hurt anyone,” said Sepúlveda. “He has no connection to ISIS and for him to be attacked this way is something that we have to stop. We cannot tolerate it, no matter what our faiths and our beliefs are.”
Muslims across the country have been fearful due to recent attacks on Mosques and citizens. A Muslim store owner in Queens was viciously attacked just last month. Residents in the Bronx say the Muslim community just wants to live the American dream.
“The Muslims here in the Bronx want to prosper, want to bring together the prosperity and the redevelopment in the Bronx,” Aldo Perez said, who is with the New York Political Coalition. “They don’t want to bring it down. They’re against, totally 100% of any act of terrorism or extremism.”
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. weighed in, too, saying, “An attack on one of us over race, religion, gender or sexual orientation is an attack on us all.”
Rahman says he’s recovering. So far, there have been no arrests made following the incident.