Police are calling it a vicious hate crime. The victim is Pakistani and his alleged attackers are a group of Jewish teenagers. The victim is at Bellevue Hospital where he is recovering. He tells us the doctors here have informed him that he will require reconstructive facial surgery.
“They were saying you Muslim terrorist..get out of the country,” Shahid Amber said.
Those are the words that 24-year-old Shahid Amber says preceded a violent attack by a mob of teenagers – an attack prosecutors are now calling a hate crime. “One of them spit in my face and then when I wipe the spit off my face, I opened my eyes and saw brass knuckles,” he said.
The incident happened Sunday night in the Midwood section of Brooklyn right outside a Dunkin’ Doughnuts near the corner of Avenue M and East 15th Street.
Shahid Amber, who is Pakistani, was standing outside eating ice cream when witnesses say he was surrounded by a group of Jewish teenagers who attacked him. This man saw it happen. “He was Pakistani, he came inside with all the blood on his face…” the man said.
The incident happened in a neighborhood that is a melting pot – dozens of different cultures come together here and some deny that there is any racial tension. “No tension that I know of…nothing at all,” a resident said. But something triggered the attack that broke Shahid Amber’s nose and scarred his face. But the pain runs deeper than that for his family.
His mother says like millions of other immigrants they came to this country looking for a better life. But on this night as she clutches her son’s blood stained coat, after this violent attack, the only thing she’s hoping for now is justice for her son. “No more this country safe for Muslims …no more,” she said.
Those responsible will face hate crime charges. The Brooklyn DA’s office tells us there have already been five arrests and say there may be more ahead.
Update: See “ADL condemns hate crime against Pakistani Muslim in Brooklyn “, ADL press release, 2 November 2006
And “Federal charges urged in hate attack on NY Muslim”, CAIR press release, 2 November 2006