Muslim woman’s hijab set on fire in attack in New York

New York: A Muslim woman in traditional Islamic attire was attacked and her blouse set on fire in New York on Saturday, a day before America marked the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

The unidentified 36-year-old woman was walking past Fifth Avenue, which houses top luxury brands, at night when an unidentified person set her blouse on fire using a lighter. “She saw (a suspect) pull a lighter away and walk away,” the New York Daily News quoted a source as saying.

The woman put out the flames on the sleeve of her blouse and was unhurt. The suspect, who reportedly did not say anything during the attack, remains at large.

The New York chapter of the civil rights group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) condemned the attack, which is the latest in a series of attacks on Muslims in the state and nationwide in recent days and months.

The Council On American-Islamic Relations’ New York (CAIR-NY) chapter urged New York’s mayor to add resources for the investigation of hate crimes.

The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Hate Crimes Task Force is trying to determine a motive for the attack.

“We are clearly seeing a spike in attacks on individual Muslims and Islamic institutions in New York and around the country, which should be of concern to all Americans,” said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher. “It is time for the mayor and the NYPD to put forward the necessary resources to investigate and prevent these attacks on the Muslim community.”

Last week, CAIR’s New York chapter had welcomed a hate crime charge for an attack on two Muslim women pushing babies in strollers during which the alleged attacker punched and kicked the victims and tried to pull off their hijabs.

Earlier this month, 60-year-old Nazma Khanam, who was from Bangladesh, was stabbed to death near her house in Queens.

Khanam was also wearing Islamic attire at the time of the stabbing. CAIR said it has noted a spike in anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes in recent months, which the civil rights groups attributes at least in part to Islamophobic rhetoric used by various public figures.