A Muslim store owner in Queens reported that he was attacked over the weekend by a man who said that he wanted to “kill Muslims.”
Fatima Food Mart owner Sarker Haque told WPIX that the man came into his store on Saturday and began punching him.
“He punched me here,” Haque recalled, motioning toward an ice cream cooler. “I fell down here… I say, ‘What the hell you doing? What’s wrong with you?’ [The attacker] said, ‘I kill Muslims.'”
“He punched me as much as he can with his left hand,” the store owner added, choking back tears. “He grabbed me here. Then he punched me here.”
The attacker was identified by police as Piro Kolvani. Investigators believe that Kolvani punched Haque multiple times before a Latino customer intervened.
“A person came [by]… He knows me,” Haque said. “I’m bleeding [at] this time so he [took] hold of [the attacker].”
“It doesn’t matter what color or nationality you are,” he pointed out. “We are in America. Everybody came from somewhere.”
Officials said that the attack on Haque was being investigated as a hate crime.
Following terrorist plots in Paris and San Bernardino, and compounded by extreme rhetoric on the campaign trail, attacks on Muslims have increased in recent weeks.
Two Muslim women at a cafe in Austin faced racial attacks while the staff and customers were silent. A sixth grade student in New York was called “ISIS” by boys who punched her and ripped at her hijab.
Watch the video below from WPIX, broadcast Dec. 9, 2015.