A Scottish tourist, wearing what the New York Daily News described as “traditional Muslim garb” was allegedly set on fire in New York on Saturday night, just outside Valentino’s on Fifth Avenue.
The Daily News did not mention specifically what the woman was wearing aside from a blouse, so it’s not clear what is meant by “traditional Muslim garb.” Her blouse was allegedly set on fire as she walked between East 54th and East 55th street. After noticing that her left arm was warm, she looked down and patted the fire out. At that point she saw a young man dressed in black standing next to her with a lighter in his hand.
ABC 7 reports security footage shows the suspect before he fled east on 54th. He reportedly didn’t say anything before fleeing. The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident.
According to the New York Daily News, Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, wants a full investigation: “I would obviously be concerned because it’s symptomatic of the overall rise in Islamophobic sentiment in our society.”
In a longer statement, CAIR wrote:
“We are clearly seeing a spike in attacks on individual Muslims and Islamic institutions in New York and around the country, which should be of concern to all Americans,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “It is time for the mayor and the NYPD to put forward the necessary resources to investigate and prevent these attacks on the Muslim community.”
CAIR has noted a spike in anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes in recent months, which the civil rights groups attributes at least in part to Islamophobic rhetoric used by various public figures.
Can you think of any public figures known to use Islamaphobic rhetoric? I can.