Vowing after an off-duty Muslim police officer was threatened to crack down on such incidents, the New York Police Department today issued a sketch of a man wanted for harassing and pushing a Muslim transit employee.
In a release posted on the NYPD blog, police said the 45-year-old MTA employee was wearing a hijab and her uniform Monday when she was approached by the suspect at 6:25 a.m. on a No. 7 train.
The man “called her a terrorist and told her to ‘go back to your country,'” police said. “The victim exited the train at Grand Central Station towards a staircase where he continued to make anti-Muslim statements. The individual then pushed the victim down causing her to strike her right knee and twist her right ankle.”
The MTA employee was treated at NYU Langone.
The suspect is described as a male Hispanic, 25-35 years old, 5′9″ to 6′0″, 150 to 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark colored jacket, and a black knitted winter hat.
Also on Monday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed to a press conference Officer Aml Elsokary, who said a man pushed her 16-year-old early Saturday evening, called her an “ISIS (expletive)” and said “I will cut your throat.” Christopher Nelson of Brooklyn was arrested Sunday after police reviewed security footage.
De Blasio encouraged New Yorkers to “help us stamp out hate” by reporting “an act of hate” and violent incidents.
“If anyone’s thinking in New York City about engaging in this type of behavior, rest assured that you will be identified, you will be arrested and you will be charged accordingly,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “There’s no place for that in New York City.”
The MTA employee, Soha Salama, told the New York Post that she’d never experienced a similar incident before and felt in fear of her life.
“I think this hate is raised after the election,” Salama said. “During the Obama administration this hate wasn’t there. It’s because of the hate speeches we hear on the media. In the 20 years I live here, I didn’t experience something like that. As soon as the election and Mr. Trump spreads this hate speech around it’s different now. He leads the people in the wrong direction.”