New York City’s police department is investigating suspects who set a Muslim woman’s clothes on fire in Midtown Manhattan.
Nemariq Alhinai was on Fifth Avenue when an unidentified man held a lighter against her blouse, setting her traditional garb on fire.
“She saw [the suspect] pull a lighter away and walk away,” a source told the New York Daily News.
The Hate Crime Task Force assisted authorities in their search for the suspect:
The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement following the crime, asking elected city officials to address attacks against Muslims in the city:
“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 Afaf Nasher, CAIR-NY’s executive director. “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.”
However, the NYPD insists the incident was not motivated by racial bias. The suspect allegedly attacked other women in the surrounding area in the same time frame, and none of them were Muslim.
“The other women were NOT wearing clothing indicating they were Muslim,” the police department’s spokesperson told The Guardian via email. “The motivation for these crimes is not considered to be ‘bias-related’ at this time.”
Despite this statement, tensions against Muslims in this country are still high, so careful consideration of these recent events is necessary.