Press Releases

CAIR-NY Condemns Assault on Muslim Street Vendor, Calls for Hate Crime Probe

(NEW YORK, NY, 7/17/18) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), a leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today condemned an allegedly bias-motivated attack last week in Manhattan targeting Muslim street vendor Hassane Elbaz.

According to media reports, the attacker insulted and harassed Elbaz for days before the attack. On July 12, the alleged assailant reportedly snuck up behind Elbaz’s cart and attacked and injured both Elbaz and his colleague. The alleged attacker reportedly shouted “I’m going to f–k you up, terrorist m———-r! Arab, go back to your country!” The suspect fled before the NYPD arrived. According to media reports, the NYPD has not yet classified the assault as a hate crime.

SEE: Manhattan Food Vendor Says Man Beat Him Outside His Cart in an Anti-Muslim Attack  

CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn said in a statement. 

“There is no place for this sort of hate or violence in our city. How have we become a place in which our neighbors are being stabbed and brutalized in broad daylight because of their faith or national origin? All New Yorkers must stand in solidarity with our Muslim neighbors and show that we’re better than this. Together we must show that New York is still a city in which we all can practice our faith in safety.”

Cahn said his attack shows why it is dangerous for the NYPD to push anti-Muslim measures like Int. 0959 – 2018, which would ban predominantly Muslim vendors from large portions of Lower Manhattan.

“These anti-Muslim measures and the hatred from leaders in Washington is creating a climate of violence on our streets,” said Cahn.

This attack is the latest in a string of anti-Muslim attacks and incidents of harassment. From 2015-2017, CAIR-NY has recorded a 974 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim acts of discrimination and violence that occurred across the state. Despite the acute uptick in bias incidents, a recent report by the NYC Commission on Human Rights found that up to 71 percent of victims don’t report these incidents to anyone.

Last month, CAIR-NY testified against Int. 0959 – 2018, a city council measure that would evict 22 street vendors from Lower Manhattan. Of the 22 vendors that would be affected, 18 are Muslim. At the same time, a farmer’s market with predominately non-Muslim vendors would be permitted to remain on the World Trade Center site itself.

SEE: CAIR-NY Testimony against Int. 0959 – 2018

Advocates Slam City Proposal Limiting Vendors Near WTC

Community members are asked to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-NY at (646) 665-7599, or by filing a report at:

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

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CONTACT: CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn, 571-766-6273,


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