(NEW YORK, NY, 12/19/16) - The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today welcomed the sentencing of a man who plotted to kill Muslims in that state and the arrest of another man who allegedly assaulted a Muslim woman, calling her a "terrorist."
A Federal District Court in Albany, N.Y., sentenced Glendon Scott Crawford, 52, to 30 years in prison on three counts stemming from his plot to build a weapon of mass destruction that would emit lethal levels of radiation intending to kill Muslims. Crawford's accomplice, Eric Feight, was previously sentenced to eight years in prison for material support.
SEE: New Yorker Gets 30 Years in Prison for 'Death Ray' Plot Against Muslims
In a separate incident, police reported the arrest of a man who assaulted a Muslim woman who wears a hijab (headscarf) in an apparent hate crime. According to police, the assailant, Nathan Gray, told the victim he hated Muslims, threw hot coffee at her face and struck her in the face with his bag. According to a Dunkin Donuts employee who witnessed the attack, Gray called the 21-year-old victim a "terrorist" before and during the attack. Gray was arrested and charged with assault as a hate crime.
SEE: Man Shouting "I Hate Muslims" Allegedly Attacked Woman with Hot Coffee in Midtown
"Today's developments highlight the range of challenges facing the Muslim community. We are witnessing both the rise of sophisticated and organized anti-Muslim plots, as well as the sudden and impetuous assaults growing too common on our streets," said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. "As Americans, we must all stand together against every one of these horrifying acts born of hatred and targeting innocent people."
"We are grateful that law enforcement officials disrupted this attempt to use a weapon of mass destruction against New York's Muslim community," said CAIR-NY Director of Strategic Litigation Albert Fox Cahn. "Too often we see Muslims demonized as 'terrorists,' but this conviction reminds us that our Muslim neighbors are increasingly the targets of terror. Islamophobic rhetoric, regularly used by hate groups for years, is finding its way into the mainstream of American life. I know that many New Yorkers stand with me in saying our city will always be a place that's open to all."
Earlier this month, CAIR-NY welcomed the arrest of Michail Isakharov for allegedly attacking a Muslim woman in Brooklyn a month before. The November 14 attack, which took place just six days after President-elect Donald Trump's election victory, occurred in the Kensington section of Brooklyn and was one of several post-election incidents targeting local Muslim women. According to police, Isakharov shouted "Muslims are not supposed to be driving!" before snatching the victim's phone and grabbing the hijab off her head. Prosecutors have charged Isakharov with aggravated harassment as a hate crime and criminal mischief in the third and fourth degrees.
Police also reported that a uniformed MTA officer - who wears and Islamic head scarf (hijab) – was assaulted by a man who yelled "You're a terrorist and you shouldn't be working for the city." The alleged attacker, reportedly shoved the MTA employee down a flight of stairs, injuring her knee and ankle. The NYPD and New York State Division of Human Rights are investigating the attack as a bias incident.
Also recently, Christopher Nelson, 36, was arrested and for allegedly assaulting an off-duty Muslim NYPD officer - who also wears and Islamic head scarf (hijab) - and her 16-year-old son. According to police, Nelson reportedly shoved the officer's son and shouted, "ISIS (expletive), I will cut your throat, go back to your country!" and "go back to your country." Nelson has been charged with menacing as a hate crime and aggravated assault in the second degree.
CAIR's national office has noted a spike in incidents targeting American Muslims and other minority groups since the November 8 presidential election. More than 100 anti-Muslim incidents have occurred across the country according to CAIR and almost 1000 incidents targeting different minority groups have been documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization recently said that newly-released FBI hate crime statistics showing a 67 percent jump in anti-Muslim incidents in 2015 should push the nation's leaders to repudiate growing Islamophobia.
Muslim community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at: http://www.cair-ny.org/incident-report/
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.
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CONTACT: CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher, 917-669-4006, firstname.lastname@example.org; Director of Strategic Litigation Albert Cahn, 571-766-6273, email@example.com, CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org