A Muslim woman wearing traditional garments had her clothes set on fire by a man with a lighter as she shopped on a crowded New York City street over the weekend, police said Monday.
The 35-year-old was dressed in a hijab and standing outside a Valentino store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan Saturday night, when she felt heat on her left side, according to the New York City Police Department.
The woman, who has not been identified, saw that her blouse was on fire and patted out the flames. When she looked up, she noticed a man standing with a lighter in his hand, police said.
The man disappeared down a side street, leaving the startled woman with a “quarter-sized hole” in her blouse and no injuries, NYPD spokesman Christopher Pisano told The Washington Post.
“The male doesn’t say anything and walks away,” Pisano said.
Police are investigating the alleged assault as a hate crime. No one has been arrested and no suspects have been identified. Pisano said the woman was visiting the city from another country; DNAinfo described the woman as a dentist from Glasgow, Scotland.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said the incident fit an alarming pattern of attacks on Muslims and Islamic sites in recent months.
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins