On Wednesday, a white man harassed and punched a Palestinian woman in Medford, Massachusetts, calling her a “terrorist” and blaming her for the deadly bombing attack at the Boston Marathon.
Hema Abolaban, a physician, was walking down the street with a friend when they were approached. Malden Patch reported:
“He was screaming ‘F_ you Muslims! You are terrorists! I hate you! You are involved in the Boston explosions! F_ you!’” Abolaban remembered. “Oh my lord, I was extremely shocked.”
She said the man - described as a white male in his thirties wearing dark sunglasses - kept shouting and walking toward her as she backed away.
“I did not say anything to him,” she said. “Not even that we aren’t terrorists…he was so aggressive.”
Abolaban is not alone. The New York Post reports that a Bangladeshi man was beaten up by Latino men outside a Bronx Applebee’s restaurant. He, too, was blamed for the Boston bombing.
Many Arabs, Middle Easterners, Muslims, South Asians, and those confused for any of the above have been bracing themselves for the discriminatory response since the bombing happened. Indeed, immediately after the race police questioned a Saudi student who was at the race. He’d been hospitalized with injuries he sustained during the attack, but very quickly, media set upon the student, announcing him as “the Saudi suspect.” Boston police later confirmed that the student was only a witness, not a suspect, but only after they searched his apartment for five hours and carted out bags of his belongings.
On Tuesday, an airplane leaving Boston’s Logan Airport was grounded this week after passengers reported that two men were speaking Arabic on the plane, Boston’s Fox 25 reported.
We have been here before. Fueled by a hysterical demagoguery which has saturated the political climate, Islamophobic hate crimes have been a defining feature of life for South Asian, Arab, Middle Eastern and Muslim communities since Sept. 11.