Two New York teenagers were arrested Jan. 22 for reportedly beating up a Muslim man while chanting “ISIS!” repeatedly as his 9-year-old niece watched.
The teenagers, ages 14 and 15, bruised Mujibir Rahman and gave him a black eye after pushing him to the ground, punching and kicking him on Jan. 15, The New York Times reports.
Rahman, who was wearing a shalwar kameez -- a traditional piece of South Asian clothing -- had just picked up his 9-year-old niece from school. While she was not hurt, Democratic State Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda said she was “emotionally traumatized.”
Police are calling this a hate crime and say the teenagers will be facing charges for both this and for acting in a manner injurious to a child, reports The New York Times.
“It’s a sad day in our society when teenagers attack people because of their religious belief,” Sepulveda said. “I hope that their parents impress upon them the seriousness of what they did and that they demonstrate remorse.”
Since the November 2015 attacks in Paris and December’s San Bernardino, California, shootings, hate crimes against Muslims have dramatically increased.
“The terrorist attacks, coupled with the ubiquity of these anti-Muslim stereotypes seeping into the mainstream, have emboldened people to act upon this fear and anger,” Brian Levin, a criminologist at California State University, San Bernardino, told The New York Times.
“I’m saddened by this but not surprised,” Levin said. “Whenever we see intergroup conflicts making headlines, we often see a spike in hate crime accompanying it.”
One week after the Paris attacks, three boys beat up a sixth-grade girl wearing a hijab in New York City while calling her “ISIS.”
“For the first time since 9/11, I am afraid of leaving the house ... things feel different,” Ramy Eletreby wrote on Love, InshAllah. “Today, I am shocked by how many people I know [who are] ingesting the fear and the hate … I’m starting to wonder who I can trust. I want to crawl under the covers and stay in bed until the madness passes. Will it ever pass?”