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Police Investigate Assault On Muslim Woman In Milwaukee

Advocates Call Beating A Hate Crime After Man Demanded Victim Remove Her Hijab

Milwaukee police are investigating an assault on a Muslim woman who says a man beat her after demanding she remove her hijab.

The woman, who asked that her name not be used, told the WITI-TV she was walking home from a prayer service at about 6 a.m. Monday when a man stepped out from a car and told her to remove her hijab.

Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition President Janan Najeeb said she met with the women after the attack. Najeeb said the attack should be treated as a hate crime.

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“He grabbed her scarf and tried to take her scarf off of her head,” Najeeb said. “She was holding on to it but then he started beating her on her head and he pulled the scarf off. Then she fell to the ground and he began kicking her.”

Milwaukee police said they have not found any evidence that would make this week’s attack a hate crime but they are still investigating. They have made no arrest.

Najeeb told The Associated Press Wednesday the woman is a single mother in her 50s. She said the women has been a member of the Muslim community in Milwaukee for almost two decades.

This is the latest in anti-Muslim incidents in Milwaukee. Last week news surfaced of a room at Marquette University used for Islamic prayer being vandalized for the second time in the past few months.

The Marquette Wire, the university’s student publication, said the first incident happened after the election of President Donald Trump and the second came after he released his revised travel ban aimed at predominantly Muslim countries.

Najeeb said in the past, Muslims haven’t reported attacks that should be considered hate crimes.

“They’ve just sort of lived with it,” she said. “I think this is probably something that as a community, we really need to take a look at a way to start documenting these in a much more systematic and serious way.”

Najeeb said she now advises Muslim women to travel in groups and avoid confrontations. She said they plan on increasing security at local mosques and other locations.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has also called for a hate crime investigation of these incidents.

Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 13 to include original reporting from WPR.