A man has been charged with hate crimes Thursday after attacking a Muslim airline employee at John F. Kennedy International Airport while invoking President Donald Trump’s name, said local officials.
According to a statement from Queens County District Attorney’s Office, Robin Rhodes, from Massachusetts, came up to the door of a Delta Airlines office belonging to Rabeeya Khan, who wears the headscarf, and said, “Are you [expletive] sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?”
Rhodes, 57, then allegedly punched the door, hitting the back of Khan’s chair. When she asked Rhodes what she did to him, he said, “You did nothing but I am going to kick your [expletive] ass,” and kicked her in the right leg, causing a heavy bruise.
Rhodes then entered the office and blocked Khan from leaving. When another individual came in to calm him down, he stepped away and Khan ran out, according to the district attorney's office.
After chasing and catching up with her, Rhodes went down on his knees -- in a mocking imitation of the Islamic prayer -- allegedly shouting, “[Expletive] Islam, [Expletive] ISIS, Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kind of people. You will see what happens.”
District Attorney Richard Brown harshly criticized the attack. “The bigotry and hatred that the defendant is accused of manifesting and acting upon have no place in a civilized society – especially in Queens County, the most culturally diverse county in the nation,” he said.
“Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice.”
President Trump’s election last November was followed by a surge in reports of violence and attacks against minorities, particularly Muslims.
Rights group Southern Poverty Law Center said reports of post-election violence were more numerous and more intense than those immediately after 9/11, the worst terrorist attack the U.S. suffered.