CAIR-NY Welcomes Arrest in Islamophobic, Pro-Trump Attack at JFK Airport

For Immediate Release

(NEW YORK, NY, 1/27/17) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading New York advocacy group for Muslim civil rights, today welcomed an arrest in the apparent Islamophobic hate attack on a Muslim airline employee at JFK Airport.

According to police, Robin A. Rhodes, 57, of Worchester, Mass., attacked a female Muslim employee in her office at the Delta Sky Lounge. The victim wears and Islamic head scarf, or hijab, in observance of her faith.

According to police, Rhodes first asked the victim “Are you [expletive deleted] sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?”  Next, Rhodes threatened to kick the victim in the “[expletive deleted] ass,” and kicked the victim in the leg.  Rhodes next stepped into the victim’s office, blocking the door.  When the victim was able to escape, Rhodes followed her, shouting: “[Expletive deleted] Islam, [Expletive deleted] ISIS, Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kind of people. You will see what happens.”

SEE: 'ISIS, Trump is here now' Mass. man yells while attacking Muslim airline employee: Queens DA

Trump fan charged with hate crimes over JFK Muslim attack

“No election or president gives bigots the right to attack Americans going about their daily business and observing their faith,” said Afaf Nasher, executive director of CAIR-NY. “New York’s airports are a gateway to travelers from around the world.  They should showcase our diversity and religious freedom, not bigotry and hate.”

“We’re grateful to our law enforcement partners for their quick response to this disturbing attack,” said CAIR-NY Director of Strategic Litigation Albert Cahn. “For every one hatemonger, we know that there are thousands of New Yorkers who stand in support of their Muslim neighbors”

The attack came at the same time that thousands of New Yorkers gathered in Washington Square Park to support Muslim and undocumented New Yorkers.  The peaceful rally, which drew more than 3,000 demonstrators to Washington Square Park, opposed the very type of violence that unfolded just a few miles away at JFK.

SEE: Thousands Join CAIR-NY Rally Against Trump's Expected ‘Muslim Ban’ Executive Orders

This arrest was just the latest in a string of violent hate crimes in the New York region.  Earlier this week, CAIR-NY welcomed the arrest of Andrew M. Plachecki for violently attacking a New Paltz, NY, Cab driver.  Plachecki, who works as a corrections officer in Rockland county, NY, was charged with multiple felony hate crimes after allegedly holding a gun to the head of a Muslim cab driver and calling him a “motherf---ing piece of Muslim sh-t.”

See: New Paltz hate crime suspect is corrections officer in Rockland County

SEE: CAIR-NY Welcomes Arrest in Islamophobic Hate Attack on New York Cab Driver

That same day, CAIR-NY welcomed an arrest in a hate attack on a Brooklyn priest.  As a civil rights organization, CAIR-NY is committed to speaking out whenever any New Yorkers are targeted on the basis of their faith.  In that matter, the alleged perpetrator shouted racial slurs, spat on the victim, and brandished a baseball bat.

SEE: CAIR-NY Welcomes Arrest in Hate Attack on Brooklyn Priest

Similarly, CAIR-NY condemned a bomb threat last week against a Syracuse Jewish Community Center.  The threat, which was made by telephone, forced the center to evacuate its facility and conduct a sweep with bomb-sniffing dogs.

SEE: CAIR-NY Condemns Bomb Threats Against Syracuse, NY Jewish Community
Additionally, late last month, CAIR’s national office expressed solidarity with Montana’s Jewish communities after neo-Nazis announced plans to stage an armed, anti-Semitic march in that state.  In that case, a leader of the neo-Nazi movement announced plans for the hate march in Whitefish, Montana “against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who supports either.”
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 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, anasher@cair.com; Director of Strategic Litigation Albert Cahn, 571-766-6273, acahn@cair.com



NYPD Releases Sketch Of Man Who Attacked Muslim MTA Worker

Police have released a sketch of the man who followed a hijab-wearing Muslim MTA worker off a subway train into Grand Central and pushed her down a flight of stairs on Monday. Officers describe the attacker as 25-35 years old, 5-foot-9 to 6 feet tall, and 150-180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark jacket and a black knit beanie.

Soha Salama, 45, was on the 7 train, headed to work as a station agent at around 6:20 a.m. Monday when police say the man approached, called her a terrorist, and told her "go back to your country." Salama disembarked at Grand Central Terminal and the man followed her, continuing to berate her with Islamophobic remarks, police said. When she reached a set of stairs, he pushed her, causing her to bash her right knee and twist her right ankle, according to the NYPD.

Salama told the New York Post she has lived in New York City for 20 years and never experienced such abuse. "I think this hate is raised after the election," she said, blaming President-elect Donald "There's something going on" Trump for fomenting anti-Muslim sentiment. "He leads people in the wrong direction."

Despite being surrounded by people throughout the ordeal, no one intervened, and Salama had to track down police officers herself, she said. The cops helped her into the station where she works, and summoned paramedics who transported her to NYU Langone Hospital.

Police told the New York Times that there has been a 35 percent increase in reported hate crimes so far this year, compared to the same period last year, and that there have been 43 possible hate crimes since Election Day, double the number reported during the same stretch of 2015.

Because this sort of thing should not be allowed to become routine, here is a photo of a marketed swastika with the message "PRAISE TRUMP" that a tipster sent yesterday, one of several such small graffitos that readers have flagged around the city in the last week or so, since they stopped garnering widespread press coverage. The message was spotted at the corner of 51st Street and Ninth Avenue in Hell's Kitchen.

CAIR-NY Condemns Third in Series of Islamophobic Attacks, This Time on Uniformed MTA Employee


CAIR-NY Condemns Third in Series of Islamophobic Attacks, This Time on Uniformed MTA Employee

(NEW YORK, NY, 12/5/16) - The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) today condemned the latest in a series of recent hate attacks on Muslims in that state.

According to police, a uniformed MTA officer - who wears and Islamic head scarf (hijab) – was assaulted this morning 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.

SEE: Muslim Transit Worker Attacked by Hate-Spewing Thug

Cops: Muslim Worker Pushed Down Stairs and Called Terrorist

“Our subways and buses are emblematic of our city’s unparalleled diversity, and we must not permit them to become a venue for hatred and violence,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “President-elect Trump has a duty to forcefully denounce this wave of violence against the Muslim community.  Mr. Trump’s rhetoric normalized hate, racism and xenophobia, and these attacks are the unavoidable byproduct.”

“We are grateful to see that witnesses had the courage to intervene in the most recent attack,” said CAIR-NY Director of Strategic Litigation Albert Fox Cahn. “The only way our city and state will overcome this wave of hatred is if New Yorkers step forward whenever we see our neighbors being threatened.  It’s incumbent on all New Yorkers to stand firm in the face of hate.”

This latest attack comes just a day after 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.

SEE: 'Hero' Muslim Cop, Her Son Harassed By Bigot in Brooklyn Who Shouted 'I Will Cut Your Throat'

On Friday, CAIR-NY condemned an alleged attack on a Muslim woman transit passenger who reportedly shouted President-elect Donald Trump’s name and Islamophobic slurs during the assault.

Video: CAIR-NY Condemns Hate Attack on Muslim Woman Transit Passenger by Men Shouting ‘Donald Trump’

CAIR-NY also recently condemned an apparently bias-motivated attack on Muslim teenagers in Queens called on New York City to take a leadership role in defending Muslim civil rights in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States.

SEE: CAIR-NY Condemns Hate Attack on Muslim Teens

CAIR-NY Responds to Protests, Calls on City to Take the Lead in Defending Muslims' Civil Rights in Wake of Trump Election

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.

SEE: Cincinnati, CAIR-Alabama Condemn Nazi Vandalism Targeting Interracial Couples

CAIR-LA Expresses Solidarity with Christian Community After Hate Vandalism of Assyrian Church

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.

SEE: CAIR Says FBI Report of Sharp Jump in Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Should Push Nation’s Leaders to Reject Islamophobia

The Muslim civil rights group is asking Muslim community members 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, anasher@cair.com; Director of Strategic Litigation Albert Cahn, 571-766-6273, acahn@cair.com, CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com.