NYPD Hate Crime Task Force Investigates Anti-Muslim Assault in the Bronx
A Muslim man who police say was assaulted in the Bronx in an apparent hate crime is speaking out along with many others in the community as NY1's Michael Scotto reports.
Speaking through a translator, Mujibur Rahman said that's what happened when two people believed to be teenagers attacked him early Friday evening while he was walking his 9-year-old niece home from her Bronx school.
"They said ISIS, ISIS and they started to hit me," Rahman said.
Those terrifying moments left him bruised and battered, his eye still swollen from the beating he endured.
His niece, physically unhurt, is now afraid to go outside.
"She could not sleep at night," the victim said. "She said she didn't want to go back to school anymore. Really in fear."
Rahman is from Bangladesh and was wearing traditional Muslim garb when his attackers approached him from behind.
The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating and trying to find those responsible.
"This particular man never hurt anyone," said Bronx Assemblyman Luis 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."
In recent months, Muslims across the country have been on edge, fearful they will be blamed for the violent terrorist attacks staged by supporters of ISIS, also known as the Islamic State militant group.
Just last month — a Muslim store owner in Queens was viciously attacked.
People in the Bronx say the Muslim community wants nothing more than 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," said Aldo Perez 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. echoed those sentiments in a statement saying:
"An attack on one of us over race, religion, gender or sexual orientation is an attack on us all."
As for Rahman, he says he's recovering, but hopes the people who hurt him are quickly brought to justice.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.