During the early hours of the 10th of April, a Muslim woman was attacked by a knife-wielding man in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after attending morning prayers. According to sources, the injured woman was treated at a local hospital after the assault. Although opting to initially remain anonymous, in the consequent days, 68-year-old Leila Hamichdg came forward as the victim of horrific sequence of events that transpired after her peaceful morning prayer.
She recounted how she was attacked by a stranger who tried to tear off her hijab. When Leila did not give in to her attacker’s forceful behavior, she was stabbed and beaten.
Sadly, although police are investigating this incident, no arrests have been made, according to local FOX6 News. In her harrowing recollection of the attack to local news, Leila expressed that during the attack, she was convinced that she was “going to die today for sure.”
“So he gets up from the car and told me to come here.” Leila continued, “one man came from a car,” and insisted that he wanted one thing: for Leila to remove her headscarf.
“He said to take my hijab, my scarf. I tried to fight him. ‘Don’t take my hijab,’ you know? So he threw me on the floor then he beat me like an animal,” said Leila.
In midst of the brutal beating, the attacker managed to pull Leila’s blood-stained scarf off:
Once the attacker completed his hateful violation of Leila, he fled the crime scene, which happens to be close to the Islamic Society of Milwaukee and the General Mitchell International Airport, providing Leila’s attacker a method of quick escape.
It is estimated that there are 10 to 15,000 Muslims worshipping across the wider county of Milwaukee, according to religious leaders. Munjed Ahmad, a spokesperson for the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, informed FOX6 News: “Nothing was stolen. There was no robbery. Her valuables remained with her.” He also expressed that, “The only motive we can think of — because everything stayed with her and this individual went straight for her scarf — is a hate crime.”
To no one’s surprise, since Donald Trump was elected, the number of hate groups specifically targeting Muslims in the U.S. has just about tripled. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in the first ten days alone after the divisive 2016 election, close to 900 incidents of harassment and intimidation were documented.
What horror to have gone through such an experience, all because the presence of a headscarf. I know many women who wear the hijab, including family and friends. The attacker’s behavior is absolutely unacceptable and inhumane. Sadly, these circumstances will not improve if society does not insist that the hijab is an acceptable and non-threatening piece of garment worn by Muslim. There is no issue with nuns covering their hair so someone needs to please explain to me why it’s a threat when Muslim women do the same. This awareness needs to be made ubiquitous, especially due to the fact that these hate crimes against Muslim women for wearing the hijab happen way too often. I have heard several stories of young girls being verbally, emotionally, and physically attacked because they appeared visibly Muslim and wear the hijab. This is no way to live, nor is it acceptable to deal with fear like this.