Moral Low Ground


Muslim Woman Heba Abolaban Assaulted in Boston Revenge Attack

Heba Abolaban and her family. (Photo: Chris Caesar/Malden Patch)

Heba Abolaban and her family. (Photo: Chris Caesar/Malden Patch)

At least two US Muslims have reportedly been attacked in separate incidents in the wake of Monday’s terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon.

The Boston Globe reports that 26-year-old Heba Abolaban, a Palestinian-born Muslim who lives in the Boston suburb of Malden and wears a traditional hijab, was assaulted on Wednesday morning as she pushed her baby daughter in a stroller down Commercial Street. An angry man allegedly charged at the physician and punched her in the shoulder while screaming in her face.

“He said, ‘Fuck you, fuck you Muslims,'” Abolaban told the Globe. “You are terrorists, you are the ones who made the Boston explosion,” her assailant allegedly yelled before walking away.

“I was really, really completely shocked,” Abolaban said. “I didn’t know what to do. Then I realized what happened. I was crying and crying.”

“I was so afraid he might hurt my baby.”

Abolaban said the response from city police and officials was nearly immediate, sympathetic and helpful. After calling police at the urging of her husband, who is also a physician, officers “were there within two minutes,” Abolaban told the Globe.

“They were so kind. They were so helpful. The Malden police chief– he called me two times.”

Mayor Gary Christenson also called. Police Chief Kevin Molis vowed to find the man who attacked Abolaban, calling the incident “an intolerable act” that violates the law and “the very essence of our constitution.”

“No investigative strategy will be overlooked to determine who is responsible for this,” Molis told the Globe. “This is something that as a city and as a police department we take very seriously.”

Abolaban told Malden Patch that she had never before felt singled out for being a Muslim or wearing a hijab.

“I really do love the beautiful diversity of Boston (and its) people,” she said. “What happened to me yesterday saddened me a lot.”

“Even if a Muslim man was the one behind the Boston Marathon blasts, he does not represent our beautiful and peaceful religion,” she added.

While authorities have released photos and video footage of two men who they believe may be connected to Monday’s deadly attack, which killed three people and left at least 140 more wounded, the identity, ethnicity and religion of the bombers remains unknown.

Meanwhile, in a second reported attack on a US Muslim, 30-year-old Bangladesh native Abdullah Faruque was reportedly beaten up by a group of men outside an Applebee’s restaurant in the Bronx, New York on Monday.

“One of the guys asked if I was Arab,” Faruque, who grew up in New York, told the New York Post. “I just shook my head like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ I didn’t even know that [the] Boston [bombing] had happened because I had a busy day.”

Faruque said the four or five men, who he described as Hispanic, were drunk. They allegedly beat him so badly that he was left unconscious and with a dislocated shoulder. While there is no proof that he was attacked because of the marathon bombing, once Faruque learned what happened earlier that day in Boston he believed he knew why he was beaten.

“I saw the news and then it hits me: That’s why I got jumped,” he told the Post.

The NYPD is investigating the assault as a hate crime.

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