Attack on NHP woman prompts outrage

Attack on NHP woman prompts outrage

A racist attack on a New Hyde Park woman last week in the name of Republican President-elect Donald Trump has prompted widespread outrage and calls for unity amid a recent spike in hate crimes.

Yasmin Seweid, 18, was waiting for a subway train in Manhattan last Thursday when three men started accosting her, shouting Trump’s name repeatedly and calling her a  terrorist, using an obscenity, she wrote in a Facebook post last Friday.

When Seweid and the men boarded the train, they approached her, ripped the straps on the bag she was carrying and tried to take her hijab, or religious scarf, off her head, according to Seweid’s post. Others on the train looked on and did nothing.

“No matter how ‘cultured’ or ‘Americanized’ I am, these people don’t see me as an American,” Seweid wrote. “It breaks my heart that so many individuals chose to be bystanders while watching me get harassed verbally and physically by these disgusting pigs.”

The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the attack, but police have made no arrests, Newsday reported.

Seweid and her family did not respond to interview requests.

Seweid’s family lives in New Hyde Park and her parents are regular congregants at the Hillside Islamic Center, said Abdul Aziz Bhuiyan, the president of the mosque. The parents of Fariha Nizam, a Muslim woman who was attacked on a Queens bus for wearing a hijab, also attend services there, Bhuiyan said.

The recent spike in attacks like the one on Seweid since Trump was elected has Bhuiyan and many other Muslims distressed and afraid, he said.

“This is the monster that we are facing,” Bhuiyan said. “It is bad for our country. It is very dangerous.”

New York City saw 43 reported hate crimes in November, more than double the 20 reported in November 2015, the Daily News reported. Nassau County has seen 48 reported since January, about the same as the same period last year, police said this week.

Nassau police are seeking the person who spray-painted racial slurs and the words “Make America White Again,” a phrase inspired by Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again,” on a Mineola sidewalk last week.

And on Monday, a Hispanic man pushed Soha Salama, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker wearing a hijab, on a flight of stairs and called her a terrorist after exiting a train at Grand Central Station, the Daily News reported.

“It’s unfortunate, but I don’t think there’s too many spots left that we haven’t heard of something or another,” said Afaf Nasher, executive director of the New York chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

The fact that no one stepped in to help Seweid last week indicates the public may be getting accustomed to attacks, which is “really terrifying,” Bhuiyan said.

U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice of Garden City, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, all Democrats, have condemned the recent attacks.

Trump’s relative silence about the spate of attacks is “very sad,” Bhuiyan said, adding that more local elected officials should publicly stand against them.

“This is an opportunity for him to bring this country together, to stand up and make a very clear statement to his supporters that this is the country that we love and this is the country that we all have to share, for good or bad,” Bhuiyan said.

By Noah Manskar

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