Washington: A Muslim researcher in the US who was on his way to deliver Friday sermon wearing traditional attire was punched by an unknown man here, a media report said.
Rashid Dar, a researcher at Brookings think-tank here, was walking along with his brother near Dupont metro station when a man approached him and punched him in the throat. His brother ran behind the attacker but he managed to flee.
Dar, who was about to finish up a sermon he was set to give downtown, was donning a black overcoat often worn by imams and a hat for praying.
“I believe I was attacked for the way I was dressed,” Dar was quoted as saying by DCist news website.
“It is generally my habit to wear overtly Muslim clothing on my way to Friday prayer. I’m a proud Muslim. I don’t feel the need to apologize for it,” he said.
Dar reported the incident to the police and tweeted the incident.
“I was just walking to the subway near Dupont Circle, and am clothed in traditional Muslim grab on my way to give a Friday sermon. An individual suddenly dropped his bag and punched me in the throat, and ran away. Multiple eyewitnesses in the street saw it. Still in a state of shock,” Dar tweeted.
Dar said this is the first time that he has faced harassment in Washington, but his wife, who wears a headscarf, has dealt with Islamophobia on a more consistent basis.
Dar said in his experience, Muslims are facing more discrimination now than after 9/11.
“Things that were previously kept in the shadows and not within polite company could now happen in broad daylight. This happened in broad daylight,” he said.
“Aside from getting punched in the throat, I think I had a pretty good day. This incident hasn’t decreased my faith in the kind of people I am surrounded by, even on the streets,” Dar said.