Advocates are calling on police to investigate the assault of a Muslim man outside his New York City mosque as a possible hate crime, the New York Daily News reports.
Mohamed Rasheed Khan, an American citizen originally from Guyana, was allegedly knocked off his bicycle and beaten outside the Center for Islamic Studies in Queens late Wednesday night. The attack left him with a concussion, as well as broken and fractured bones in his face and chest. Police are looking for three suspects who are alleged to have laughed while fleeing the scene of the crime.
Speaking with New York's CBS2, witness Ramadan Alli described finding Khang's body, saying he "[kept] shaking him and telling him, I keep telling him to stay with me, stay with me."
Khan's niece Asha Deopersaud told the station that her uncle "is an American citizen that did not deserve this and he is very humble and doesn’t bother anybody. He was coming to pray and Islam is all about love and caring for others. The criminals who did this don’t identify with that."
Officials have reportedly shied away from characterizing the attack as one of bias, but some are not convinced.
"Because of the location of the attack outside a mosque, the Islamic attire of the victim, and because nothing was stolen by the alleged attackers, we urge law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for this troubling incident, "explained Afaf Nasher, executive director for the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "We urge the NYPD to step up patrols in the area of the mosque, particularly during activities associated with the upcoming fast of Ramadan"
According to some Muslim-Americans, anti-Muslim discrimination has skyrocketed in the past year, fueled in part by the tone and tenor of this election cycle. It's a sentiment shared by CAIR's Nasher, who writes that "incidents targeting American Muslims and their religious institutions have spiked in recent months, prompted at least in part by anti-Muslim rhetoric employed by public figures like Donald Trump."
Kahn reportedly remains unable to speak, or open his eyes. He is scheduled to undergo surgery Monday.