Last night in Queens, Mohammed Rasheed Khan, a Muslim man in traditional dress, was savagely beaten just outside Center for Islamic Studies as he left after praying. Reportedly, his assailants were seen laughing as they left him severely injured on the sidewalk. The fact that the assailants stole nothing from Mr. Khan overwhelmingly suggests that this was indeed a hate crime. Mr. Khan is undergoing surgery today to repair five broken bones in his face, cracked ribs, and a concussion. Our thoughts are with him and his family.
Tragically, the rise of Donald Trump and his putrid xenophobic rhetoric is leading to increases of anti-Islamic hate crimes across America. In December, a slew of hate crimes followed Trump’s calls to register and track Muslims in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting. A Muslim shopkeeper was robbed and assaulted by a man who said, “I kill Muslims!”; a severed pig’s head was left outside a Philadelphia mosque; a Muslim man enjoying the day at Lake Chabot was assaulted by a woman who called him “a terrorist.” Just days after Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering America, a man was arrested for ripping the hijab off of a Muslim woman’s head on an airplane, shouting, “This is America!”
The growth of Trump’s campaign and his appalling refutation of the American values of diversity and multiculturalism has led to an insidious rise in hate crimes. We must recognize that at this point, Trump’s hate speech has gone beyond just being hate speech and is actively inciting violence around the country. His presence in the media has lent legitimacy to hateful nativists who have nothing better to do with their time than commit acts of cruelty that violate fundamental American rights and values. We mourn the atrocities committed against Mr. Khan, and against numerous other Muslim Americans, and we hope that America will wake up and cleanse itself of the hatred, demonization, and ignorance that have led to these unforgivable acts.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.