Somali Muslim Arrested for Attempting to Mow Down Jews With Car in Front of L.A. Synagogue
UPDATED: LAPD announced that Mohamed Mohamed Abdi has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon with a hate crime specification:
Original Post: Los Angeles police are investigating an incident Friday night as a potential hate crime after a Somali man, 32-year-old Mohamed Mohamed Abdi, attempted to run down worshipers standing outside a Hancock Park synagogue.
According to witness, Abdi was yelling "F**king Jews! F**king Jews!" during the attack.
Abdi reportedly insulted another couple leaving the synagogue before getting into his car and attempting to run over two men.
He later crashed into another car nearby, at which time he was arrested. A Koran was found on the dashboard of his car:
Police said in a press conference this afternoon that Abdi had just arrived in the L.A. area within the past few days.
CBS Los Angeles reported:
Security video from Friday night shows the driver making a hard U-turn.
CBSLA interviewed one of the victims, who says he and his friend were the target.
“We both scrambled in different directions so he slammed on his brakes and missed us thank God,” the victim, who asked to remain anonymous, said.
A second security video shows the driver reversing and trying to hit them again.
“He clearly was going at us and it was even more clear on round two,” said the victim.
It happened on La Brea in Hancock Park, on a corner with a couple synagogues and on the Sabbath where many walk around in traditional attire.
“Why he chose us? Probably because of the yarmulkes on our heads,” the victim said.
Abdi is currently being held on $55,000 bail.
This incident occurred less than a month after the horrific Pittsburgh synagogue attack that left 11 dead.
Earlier this month, a man was sought by police in a possible hate crime investigation for punching and kicking a man wearing a yarmulke in Brooklyn. The attack was captured on a security surveillance camera.
In October, Pakistani livery driver Farrukh Afzal was charged with a hate crime after he beat 62-year-old Orthodox Rabbi Lipa Schwartz while shouting "Allah, Allah" and saying he wanted to "kill all Jews" at an intersection in the Borough Park neighborhood of New York City. Rabbi Schwartz was walking to morning services at the synagogue when he was attacked.
That incident was also caught by surveillance cameras:
The NYPD recommended hate crime charges against Afzal in that attack, but the district attorney's office declined to press those charges. A grand jury later indicted Afzal and included the hate crime charge.
In July, a drunk off-duty NYPD police officer, Tanvir Ahmed of the 67th Precinct in East Flatbush, crashed into a parked car on Ocean Parkway, and then later punched a haredi Jew and left the scene. He was arrested about a half-mile from where the incident happened.
Another driver captured video of the car crash:
Ahmed was charged with assault, driving while intoxicated, and leaving the scene of an accident.
While many reports have noted the rise in anti-Semitic attacks in Europe, there has also been a corresponding rise of incidents in the United States.
The FBI earlier this month released hate crime figures for last year showing that incidents targeting Jews increased by 37 percent over 2016, with 938 incidents in 2017.
Those same FBI statistics showed that anti-Muslim incidents decreased by 11 percent last year.