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CAIR-MN Seeks Hate Crime Charges After Muslim Woman Attacked for Speaking Swahili

CAIR Woman Who Grew Up in Kenya Attacked in a US Restaurant for Speaking Swahili(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 11/6/2015) – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today called for hate crime charges to be brought against a suspect who allegedly attacked a Muslim woman in that state for speaking Swahili.

CAIR-MN said the Muslim woman suffered deep cuts to her face after being assaulted Friday at an Applebee's restaurant by another customer angry at her for not speaking English. Jodie Burchard-Risch, 43, was charged with third-degree assault.

“The current charge is insufficient to communicate the seriousness of and possible bias motive for the alleged attack,” said CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein.

Hussein said this incident fits a pattern of increased hate-motivated crimes and bias incidents nationwide targeting persons and property associated, or perceived to be associated, with Islam and the American Muslim community.

He noted that CAIR recently questioned the low bail for a man who allegedly carried out a bias-motivated attack on a Muslim woman in an Indiana restaurant.

Just yesterday, CAIR's Massachusetts chapter took part in an interfaith “We are Americans” event at the Islamic Center of Burlington in Burlington, Mass., in the wake of hate vandalism targeting the mosque.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, 612-406-0070,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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