On Wednesday, the far-right’s Islamophobic online fear mongering spilled, tragically, into the real world:
A Palestinian woman said she was assaulted and aggressively harassed while walking with her infant daughter and friend near Malden Center late Wednesday morning, in an apparent hate crime motivated by Monday’s attack at the Boston Marathon.
Malden resident Heba Abolaban said she and her friend, both wearing hijabs, were walking with their children on Commercial Street when a man forcefully punched her left shoulder and began shouting at them.
“He was screaming ‘F___ you Muslims! You are terrorists! I hate you! You are involved in the Boston explosions! F___ you!’ “
At the time of Abolaban’s attack on Wednesday afternoon, no suspects had been publicly identified by the FBI or Boston Police. But conservatives ranging from Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association to radical Islamophobe Pamela Geller were already assigning blame to Middle Eastern “suspects” after the Rupert Murdoch-owned New York Post falsely reported that a Saudi national was being held for questioning. That same evening, a Bangladeshi man says he was also targeted outside a Bronx diner after his attackers called him a “fucking Arab.”
By Thursday, authorities revealed the photos of two Chechen Muslim males as the suspects, one of whom has since been killed following a police chase, the other who is still at large in the Boston suburbs. Neither are from the Middle East.
This is not the first time Muslim Americans have been subjected to attacks following a terrorist event in the United States. For the weeks after the attacks on September 11th, Muslims were the victims of more than 450 hate crimes, and during the debate over the Park51 Islamic Center, mosques around the country were targeted by anti-Muslim bigots.