New Delhi:A 60-year-old Indian-origin Muslim business owner’s shop in Pahrump was vandalised with graffiti like “go home Indian” and “I will kill you” scrawled over the walls, as an apparent hate crime.
Dr Waqar “Vic” Ahmed’s shop in Pahrump, Nevada, was spray painted with graffiti in what is now being investigated as a hate crime.
Ahmed said he has heard the taunts before and experienced attacks on his Indian heritage and Muslim faith in the past, but never anything quite like this. The Nye County Sheriff’s office said the hateful graffiti was discovered last Sunday in front of the shop. The business was spray painted with derogatory words against the owner’s religion. Words like ‘go home Indian’, ‘foreigner go home’, ‘camel jockey’, ‘I will kill you’ and ‘I will get you’ were also scrawled on the walls of his shop.
“I had a guy tell me once to go back to my third world country. I had to tell him what India was,” Ahmed was quoted as saying by KSNV-TV. No suspects have been identified but they could face charges for malicious destruction of property. “I hate to think that kind of thing is going on in Nye County and we’re going to do everything we possibly can to stop it, if it does,” Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly was quoted as saying by KTNV-TV.
“I’m disappointed at humanity in general,” said Ahmed, an Indian Muslim who moved to the US more than 30 years ago. “They say stuff like this to me and it makes my blood boil because I am none of those things,” Ahmed said.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the vandalism and said the Muslim business owner and his family have been targeted for more than a month. Ahmed said he received harassing phone calls about his race and religion about a month ago. He did file a restraining order against that caller, but it has since expired.
The Nye County Sheriff’s Office has a team of five investigators looking into the potential hate crime. If they find it to be a hate crime, they will turn the investigation over to the FBI.
“Be more tolerant. The world’s a big place and there’s enough room for everybody,” said Ahmed. Now, he said the plan is to clean up and continue his work. “I know there’s hatred. It’s fed by ignorance. Educated people treat me just fine,” he said.