A Manhattan food vendor told NY1 on Monday that he was viciously assaulted in what he called an act of hate, after enduring days of verbal harassment.
"Everybody has to know about it," said Hassane Elbaz. "He cannot just do that, hit people and harass people"
That's why Elbaz said he was speaking out after an assault that left him with a black eye and covered in bruises. He said it started after the person yelled this at him:
"I'm going to f--k you up, terrorist m----------r! Arab, go back to your country!" Elbaz said the man said to him.
Elbaz said his attacker had been coming by the food cart he operates on Broadway near Houston Street and hurling insults like that at him for weeks.
Elbaz said on last Thursday the man snuck behind the cart and grabbed his legs from under him.
"Then I fell and then he dragged me outside," Elbaz said.
He said he hardly had a chance to react.
"He stabbed me like three or four times with a pen in my hand and then started punching me all over," Elbaz said.
The man allegedly punched Elbaz's co-worker in the face as well and ran off before police arrived.
Elbaz's friends and fellow vendors are outraged. "The fact that he used some racially charged phrases when he was attacked," food truck vendor David Stiffler said. "To me, that's a hate crime."
Elbaz can't come up with any other explanation.
NY1: Do you think he has something against Muslims?
Elbaz: Absolutely, because it's nothing between — I don't know him, it's nothing between me and him.
Now, he's hoping police track this man down so he can feel safe here again.
The NYPD has not classified the assault as a hate crime but said it is investigating. No arrests have been made at this time.