Group wants Kettering assault case charged as hate crime

The Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) will hold a news conference Friday to address an alleged physical and verbal attack on a Muslim woman in a Meijer grocery store in Kettering.

The press conference will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Kettering Municipal Court Building, 2325 Wilmington Pike.

CAIR-Ohio’s Cincinnati staff attorney, Sana Hassan, said the organization would like Kettering prosecutor Nolan Thomas to bring hate crime charges against the “middle-aged man who allegedly physically and verbally,” attacked a Muslim woman in a Meijer grocery store on Wilmington Pike and yelled racial and ethnic slurs at her.

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“This was definitely a hate crime, and we would like to see the prosecutor charge it as such,” Hassan told the Dayton Daily News on Thursday afternoon, adding that the 25-year-old woman was “terrified during the attack.”

She added that the hate crime statute in Ohio is broadly written and must be accompanied by another charge like assault, which the man was charged with.

“The survivor of this attack, an innocent Muslim woman wearing a hijab, was walking into the store and this couple followed her in and attacked her verbally,” Hassan said. “When she went to get milk from the cooler, she was physically attacked by the man. She didn’t know who he was or his wife but the police used surveillance video to identify the assailants.”

Kettering Community Information Manager Stacy Schweikhart will address the issue for the city following the press conference.

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Hassan said she has been in contact with the prosecutor and is eager to learn why hate crime charges aren’t forthcoming.

“I understand that the wife’s hate speech is protected,” she said. “But if we are not appropriately charging these actions as hate crimes, then it becomes hard to address the problem in a legal sense.”

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

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