“All I could think is I need to get out of the car,” Syed Raza recalled after two men set his car ablaze with him in it. “A lot of things (were) going through my mind.”
KPRC2 reports the Katy, Texas resident’s car caught fire Monday afternoon on the Katy Freeway. He managed to escape the blaze by pulling over and heaving himself onto the shoulder. He was then taken to the hospital and kept there for two days to treat his severe injuries.
‘Syed Raza has second- and third-degree burns on his right arm, and a first-degree burn on the right side of his face. He told KPRC2 he felt his arm burning and knew he needed to get to safety.’
But was Syed Raza’s ordeal an accident or a trumpster fire?
‘Raza suspects the cause of his car fire was not mechanical. Rather, he believes two men are to blame, throwing an object into his car a couple minutes earlier on the Katy Freeway feeder at Greenhouse.’
That’s right. Two men in a purple truck pulled over and motioned for him to roll down the window and apparently threw something into his car that set it on fire.
‘They were asking me to roll down the window. I did that. I thought they were asking for directions.’
When Syed Raza did, they started laughing, threw something through his window, and drove away. The object fell on the floor behind him near the passenger seat and sure enough, the fire started moments later.
‘It’s pretty sad that somebody would do something like that. I don’t know if it’s a prank or intentionally.’
What goes unmentioned is the possibility of a hate crime. While one of KPRC2’s helicopters caught video footage of the blaze from overhead, their team still doesn’t know all the details.
At the time of this writing, Raza had not yet filed a police report, as he’d just gotten out of the hospital. Neither he nor the reporters even mention the race of the alleged assailants or whether they’d festooned their trucks with Confederate flags and “Make America Great Again” bumper stickers. We don’t even know Sayed Raza’s religion or where he’s from, though U.S. Uncut refers to him as a Muslim.
But you don’t have to be a Muslim to be the victim of an anti-Muslim hate crime…People just have to think you’re a Muslim.
We know many Trump supporters would not approve of Syed Razas’ brown skin or his faint traces of an accent. Heck, in the final days of the election, Mein Trumpf even mistook a black Trump supporter for a protester at a rally in Charlotte, N.C. and had security through him out. And we also know that since Donald Trump’s victory, reports of threats and hate crimes against Muslims (or people thought to be Muslims) have spiked dramatically.
Tom Cahill from U.S. Uncut writes “the incident appears to be a hate crime.” But when he got hold of Mustafaa Carrol, executive director of the Houston chapter for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Carrol explained that he can’t call it a hate crime with so little information. Carroll said:
‘For it to be classified as a hate crime, the person has to first say, “You dirty Muslim” or something to that effect, then do the crime, and then the charges are enhanced as a hate crime. I mean, it definitely looks hateful… but if it isn’t investigated as a hate crime, then future hate crimes accusations lose credibility.’
But Syed Raza doesn’t seem to want to dwell on that. Instead, he spoke of the people who pulled over to help him. “The put water on me,” he recalled. “Someone called my wife.”
Raza added they called 911. He had his wallet on him, making it easier for those who helped to identify him. They waited with Raza until medics arrived and rushed him to Memorial Hermann.
We won’t even ask how many of those helpful passersby cast their ballots for Donald Trump.
Watch: Raza Syed survives after his car is set ablaze.
Featured image: Video screen grab via KPRC2.