The NYPD has released surveillance footage of a man they believe set a Muslim woman's blouse on fire with a lighter on Fifth Avenue last weekend. The woman was wearing a hijab, and the NYPD's Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident as a possible bias attack.
The 35-year-old victim, who the NY Post identified as one Nemariq Alhinai, was window-shopping outside of the Valentino boutique at 693 Fifth Avenue around 9:00 p.m. on Saturday when she was approached. An NYPD spokesman would not confirm the woman's name, but said that she is a tourist, visiting New York from Scotland.
According to the police report, Alhinai "felt something warm on her left arm." She looked down and realized that the left sleeve of her blouse was on fire. A man standing next to her allegedly had a lighter in his hand.
Alhinai didn't know the man, who apparently headed east on 54th Street without speaking to her. She managed to pat out the flames without injury. No arrests have been made as of Tuesday.
Last week, a Brooklyn woman was arrested after she allegedly attacked two Muslim women pushing their babies in strollers in Bath Beach. Prosecutors say she attempted to rip off their hijabs and told them, "Get the fuck out of America, bitches." "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," said CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher in a statement. "I'm running out of things to say, really," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, on Monday. "Each [incident] is followed by another." He mentioned a mosque in Fort Pierce, Florida that Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen attended, which police believe was intentionally set on fire yesterday. And Sunday, the 15th anniversary of 9/11, someone threw a rock through a window at a mosque in Nashua, New Hampshire.
Anyone with information in regards to the above incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.