The shirt of a Muslim woman wearing a hijab and what has been described as “traditional garments” was set on fire on Saturday (September 10). New York Police Department (NYPD) spokesman Christopher Pisano told The Washington Post yesterday (September 13) that the woman was not injured.
The 36-year-old woman, described as a dentist from Glasgow, Scotland, was standing outside the Valentino store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan when she felt intense heat. When she looked down, she saw that her shirt was on fire and that a man was withdrawing a lighter from her side. The man reportedly walked away without saying anything. The woman was able to put out the flames, which left a “quarter-sized hole” in her shirt.
The assault is being investigated as a hate crime. It happened just one day after Emirjeta Xhelili was charged with a hate crime for attacking two young Muslim mothers and their young children in nearby Brooklyn. The New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says these crimes are part of a disturbing pattern.
“We are clearly seeing a spike in attacks on individual Muslims and Islamic institutions in New York and around the country, which should be of concern to all Americans,” executive director Afaf Nasher said in a statement posted to Facebook. “It is time for the mayor and the NYPD to put forward the necessary resources to investigate and prevent these attacks on the Muslim community.”