US: Turkish woman assaulted by college student

21st Oct 2015
US: Turkish woman assaulted by college student

NEW YORK (AA): A Turkish Muslim woman who was assaulted by a U.S. college student said Tuesday that the incident was motivated by religious bias.

The 49-year-old victim, who does not want to be identified, was attacked Saturday by Indiana University student Triceten Bickford as she was sitting with her 9-year-old daughter at a Turkish cafe in Bloomington.

She told Anadolu Agency that Bickford approached her while she was sitting at a table outside the cafe and began shouting  “white power” and “kill them all.”

Bickford then grabbed her by her neck and forced her head onto the table before trying to take off her headscarf, she added.

She said the attack was a “hate crime” and believes she was targeted because of her headscarf.

The victim’s daughter suffered psychologically after the incident and did not want to go to school Monday because of fear, she said.

The 19-year-old attacker faces multiple charges including intimidation, battery, strangulation and public intoxication, according to local media.

Indiana is one of the five U.S. states without a hate crime law, but the FBI initiated a civil rights probe to determine whether the incident was hate crime.

The victim, who has lived in the U.S. for 18 years, said she had never before seen Bickford at the café.

“I received a great amount of support from the local community. Lots of people have brought flowers and said they are happy to have us in their town. I have never seen such a crowd at the café,” said the woman, who added that she had never witnessed an Islamophobic attack in the city and that the locals were in shock.

Bickford told local media Tuesday that he was under the influence of alcohol and had not taken his daily dose of anti-anxiety medicine prior to the incident.

He was released on $500 bond Sunday. His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

The victim also expressed concern about her safety after the attacker’s release but said police told her that they could not issue a restraining order before the court hearing.

In a written statement, Indiana University called the incident “horrifying”.

“This type of abhorrent behavior is not representative of our students, nor of the culture of inclusion and tolerance so many people at the university and in the Bloomington community have worked so hard to foster,” read the statement.

 
Author: Mustafa Çağlayan
[Photo: Muslim women, many of whom sufferer Islamophobic attacks, seen in the Turkish American Community Center in Lanham, Maryland. Photographer: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency]

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