A man from Massachusetts attacked a hijab-clad Muslim woman, an employee at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. He allegedly kicking and shouting at the woman and told her that President Donald Trump “will get rid of all of you”.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement on Thursday that Robin Rhodes (57) of Worchester had arrived from Aruba and was awaiting a connecting flight to Massachusetts. On Wednesday night, he approached Delta employee Rabeeya Khan who was sitting in her office in the Delta Sky Lounge of the airport.
The man came up to her door and started shouting profanities at her. He punched the door and asked if she was praying. Khan asked what she had done to him. Rhodes replied, “You did nothing”. He then cursed her and kicked her in the leg.
Brown said when another person came to calm him, Rhodes moved away from the door and at that time Khan ran out of her office. Rhodes then followed her, got down on his knees and began to bow down. He mimicking a Muslim prayer and shouted, “Islam, ISIS, Donald Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kinds of people. You will see what happens.”
Rhodes was charged with assault, unlawful imprisonment, menacing and harassment of hate crimes. If convicted he could be punished maximum 4 years of imprisonment.
When he was arrested he told the police, “I guess I am going to jail for disorderly conduct. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman because their back was to me and they had something covering their head.”
Brown said in this civilised society, especially in Queens Country there is no place for bigotry and hatred in which the defendant is accused. “Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice.”
Delta said that a contractor employed Ms. Khan not the Delta directly. It stated the incident was unacceptable and it will continue to fully cooperate with authorities in this incident.
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump gave anti-Muslim speeches. On Friday, he signed executive orders which impede the entry of refugees from at least seven Muslim-majority countries to America.