NEW YORK: A 30-year-old Indian chef was punched repeatedly in the face and called “ISIS” by an unidentified man in an alleged hate crime incident in the US city of Omaha.
Suthahar Subburaj, who works as a chef at an Indian restaurant in Omaha, was attacked last month while he was taking out trash for work.
A man wearing a black hoodie punched Subburaj multiple times in his forehead, face, mouth and kicked him in the leg, according to a report in ‘The Omaha World-Herald’ quoting police officials.
Using abusive language, the man shouted at Subburaj, saying, “ISIS, get out of my country” and fled from the scene, the report said.
An advocacy organisation for Hindu Americans have voiced concern over growing “xenophobia” towards people of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent.
Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) have condemned the attack, calling it a hate crime.
“Subburaj is a victim of the growing xenophobia towards people across the country of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent, citizens and recent immigrants alike,” said Jay Kansara, HAF Director of Government Relations.
“Law enforcement and government authorities must work closely with local community members of all racial and religious backgrounds in order to effectively address these types of attacks on innocent people and confront the hate and ignorance that fuel them,” Kansara said.
Local police are investigating the incident as a hate crime based on religion, HAF said, adding it is monitoring the case.
Subburaj has been living alone in Omaha for about two years. He hopes his attacker is punished, but is also taught about different religions and races.
“His motivation and why he beat me, I don’t have an answer for that,” Subburaj said.
The Anti-Defamation League condemned the possible hate crime in a press release.
“We must all stand together against bigotry, hatred and prejudice,” regional director Mary-Beth Muskin said.
“We urge law enforcement to investigate this incident as a possible hate crime and hope that the perpetrator will be apprehended swiftly and brought to justice,” Muskin said.