The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based NGO, is calling on New York police and prosecutors to consider an attack against an Egyptian-American teen earlier in this month as “anti-immigrant, anti-Arab and racially charged.”
In a press release on Wednesday, the New York chapter of the council, which defines itself as the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation, said that a middle-aged man hit Egyptian-American Tarek El-Sayed, 18, with a baseball bat in the head and forearm after he puncturing the rear tire on Sayed’s car.
The organisation added that the assailant threatened to kill Sayed and his friends and told them to “go back to your country.” The assailant also used anti-Arab slurs, according to the council.
Sayed suffered injuries including a broken arm and a head wound, the council said.
"This brazen attack on a teenager is disturbing and has no place in our city," said Ahmed Mohamed, the legal director of the council’s New York chapter in a statement on Wednesday. Mohamed said the assailant’s motives were “very clear,” and urged the New York City Police Department (NYPD) to open a hate crime probe.
"No one should be attacked or live in fear because of their race or ethnicity,” Mohamed said.
Talking with CNN, Mohamed called on the NYPD and District Attorney to consider the “plethora of evidence” available to support a hate crime probe.
Sayed told CNN that he believes he informed police of the racial epithets the assailant allegedly used, but NYPD Detective Hubert Reyes told the American media platform that the police report did not include any mention of racial epithets.
The assailant, 41-year-old Emilio Lopez, has been arrested and is facing charges of harassment, assault in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, CNN cited the NYPD as saying. Lopez is set to appear in Richmond Criminal Court on 16 November, according to court documents.