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CAIR Seeks Stepped-Up Charges for Bias Assault on Va. Muslim

vre header logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/3/14) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today said it is urging Virginia prosecutors to enhance the charges being brought against a Woodbridge, Va., man who allegedly carried out a bias-motivated assault on a Muslim commuter.

The Muslim victim reported to CAIR that the alleged assault took place May 20 on a VRE commuter train in Virginia. According to the victim, a government employee, the alleged assailant became enraged and shouted “speak f**king English” when he heard the victim speaking on a cell phone in his native Bengali.

During the incident, the alleged attacker reportedly struck the Muslim commuter in the head, threatened to throw him from the train and told a conductor that the victim might have a bomb.

Fairfax County Police Department (Case Number 20141410002) arrested the alleged attacker and charged him with assault and battery as a hate crime under Virginia statute 18.2-57.

That statute states: “Any person who commits a simple assault or assault and battery is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, and if the person intentionally selects the person against whom a simple assault is committed because of his race, religious conviction, color or national origin, the penalty upon conviction shall include a term of confinement of at least six months, 30 days of which shall be a mandatory minimum term of confinement.”

The alleged perpetrator, who was released on his own recognizance, is scheduled to appear in Fairfax Country General District Court (Case Number GC14102817-00) on July 11, 2014.

“We urge prosecutors to consider the seriousness of this alleged assault in determining what additional or increased charges may be brought to bear to help deter others who may consider similar apparently bias-motivated attacks,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.

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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, arubin@cair.com

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