For Samira Hussein and her family, the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks began at 6:45 a.m. yesterday when they noticed that six tires on their Astrovan and Lincoln Continental had been slashed outside their Gaithersburg home.
Like many Americans, Hussein said, they knew the anniversary would bring sad memories. As Muslims of Palestinian descent, she said, they were frightened but not surprised that they would be targeted on such a day.
"For most people, when you say Sept. 11, they don't think of Muslim Americans" as victims, said Hussein, 52.
Gaithersburg police are investigating the incident as a hate crime based on the Husseins' beliefs that they were targeted because of their religion, Sgt. Rudy Wagner said. Police had no suspects, and no similar incidents were reported in the city yesterday, he said.
It was also the only suspected hate crime or discriminatory act reported yesterday to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, spokeswoman Amina Rubin said. She said that the Washington-based organization usually hears of a spike in such incidents after terrorist attacks overseas but not on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (MORE)