Burlingame police say they are investigating a possible hate crime after a Muslim woman says she was verbally assaulted and spat at by a man this week.
The alleged assault took place as the woman was walking to pick her kids up from school along a residential stretch of El Camino Real in Burlingame.
The alleged victim in the case speaks only broken english and asked that her face and name remain hidden. Through an interpreter, she said the attack was “scary and unprovoked.”
She says she left her apartment around 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon to pick up her children at school when she passed a man who suddenly stopped.
“He was holding his shirt in his hands, he immediately walked up to her. covered his face with his shirt, spat on her and was shouting. Calling her derogatory names and telling her to ‘go back where she came from,’” said Raed Atawneh, the victim’s translator.
The victim added that she was afraid of the man, whom she describes as 6 feet tall with a blonde ponytail and might have a weapon.
“She instantly was very afraid. She didn’t do anything. She was too scared to hold up her phone or to call the police or to even take a photo of him,” Atawneh told NBC Bay Area.
The victim said that the suspect didn’t follow her as she rushed to the school. That’s where the principal called the police department.
The Bay Area Council on American Islamic Relations or CAIR blames the political rhetoric around the Middle East.
“Right here in our backyard, this is the second hate crime that has been reported to us in less than a week. There is a relationship between the two,” said Zahra Billoo, CAIR Bay Area executive director.
Police confirm the incident is being investigated as a possible hate crime and added that officers have been in the area looking for witnesses as well as neighborhood surveillance video.
Source: NBC Bay Area