Police in New York City are searching for an assailant who set a Muslim woman on fire Saturday night, just hours before 15th anniversary memorial services for victims of the 9/11 attack began, reports the New York Daily News.
According to police, the woman — who is visiting from Scotland and was wearing traditional Muslim clothing — was window-shopping Saturday night when she felt heat on her arm and saw that her sleeve had been set on fire.
“She saw [the suspect] pull a lighter away and walk away,” a source explained. “He doesn’t say anything.”
Police state the woman was able to extinguish the flame as her assailant got away, with police labeling the attack a hate crime.
“I would obviously be concerned because it’s symptomatic of the overall rise in Islamophobic sentiment in our society,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesperson for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “That’s based on the spike across the country in hate crimes and hate incidents, in recent days and over the past year,.”
Two days prior 32-year-old Emirjeta Xhelili attacked two Muslim women pushing strollers while shouting, “Get the f*ck out of here. Get the f*ck out of America, b*tches… This is America — you shouldn’t be different from us.”