Connecticut state Rep. Maryam Khan was attacked at a Eid al-Adha prayer service Wednesday in Hartford, the Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said.
According to CAIR, Khan, her sister, a female friend and Khan’s three children were approached by a man who allegedly made "vulgar and obscene remarks." CAIR said that the man then grabbed her and threw her to the ground.
Hartford Police said the victim suffered minor injuries and was treated by EMS.
CAIR said another attendee chased down and held the man until police arrived.
Police said Andrey Desmond was arrested and charged with second-degree unlawful restraint, third-degree assault, second-degree breach of peace and interfering with police.
CAIR says Khan may have been targeted because of her religion. The group noted that Khan, her sister and her older daughter were wearing religious head scarves at the time of the alleged attack.
“We urge local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for this attack and to ensure the safety of the Connecticut Muslim community during the ongoing Eid al-Adha celebrations,” said CAIR-Connecticut Chair Farhan Memon. “All too often, we have seen American Muslims, or those perceived to be Muslim, targeted by hate because of their attire, race or ethnicity.”
Eid is considered one of the largest holidays celebrated in Islam. CAIR said it is celebrated annually with prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy and social gatherings.
Organizers were expecting a crowd of over 5,000 people at Wednesday's gathering. Because of the size of the crowd, organizers said more police should have been on hand.
“Given the size and prominence of the event, more officers should have been present. Other cities and towns in Connecticut have proactively assigned officers to mosques to protect against such attacks," Memon said.
Gov. Ned Lamont called the alleged attack "disturbing."
"Rep. Khan is a dedicated public servant who cares deeply about passing legislation that uplifts her constituents in Hartford and Windsor. I'm keeping her and her loved ones in my thoughts," he said.
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