MN: ISANTI MAN IS CHARGED IN ASSAULT NEAR A MOSQUE
A 33-year-old man from Isanti, Minn., was charged Monday with a bias crime in connection with an alleged assault near a St. Cloud mosque Saturday afternoon.
Phillip Joseph Massa III also was charged in Stearns County District Court with obstructing the legal process after fighting with officers following his arrest.
Both charges are gross misdemeanors. If convicted, Massa could be fined, jailed or both.
Authorities said the incident occurred about 2:15 p.m. Saturday as Syed Fahad Hussain, 26, walked home from a mosque in St. Cloud.
According to a criminal complaint, Hussain was approached by two men who tried to block his path. One of the men, later identified as Massa, "got up into [Hussain's] face and asked [him] if he was a 'Muslim terrorist.' "
When Hussain did not answer, Massa threatened to kill him. He then pushed Hussain in the chest and swung at him. Massa's punch missed, but his elbow struck Hussain in the head and knocked his glasses to the ground.