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Use federal law against Islamophobic killer of Afghan-American, say campaigners

29th Mar 2019

Nadine Osman

The family, friends and campaigners of a Afghan-American man shot down in Indiana, by a man screaming anti-Muslim profanities at him have called on federal charges be bought against his killer as the crime was committed in one of five states without a hate crime law.

Several eyewitnesses told Indianapolis Metropolitan Police they saw Dustin Passarelli, 33, “empty his gun” on 32-year-old Mustafa Ayoubi after religiously abusing him on February 16.

Passarelli told police that a car he claimed to be Ayoubi’s “aggressively” drove behind him and that he thought someone “threw something at his car or hit his car.” Passarelli then proceeded to follow Ayoubi to an apartment complex where Ayoubi was meeting his friends and said he did so because he wanted to get Ayoubi’s insurance information in case there was damage to his car.

That’s when friends who witnessed the shooting say they watched Passarelli “cussing at. Ayoubi and using religious and ethnic insults such as, “Go back to your country.”
One witness said the alleged shooter “was saying a lot of bad words about [Islam’s Prophet] Muhammad.”

Witnesses claimed that Passarelli then appeared to shine a light or a laser at Ayoubi, then shot at him multiple times. Ayoubi was unarmed and tried to run away as Passarelli shot him in the back twice; he was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Ayoubi’s family told Eyewitness News he drove into the Lakeview Crossing at Eagle Creek Apartments to get away from the other driver.

Eyewitness Dr Usman Ashraf said, “The guy that was in the car that was the shooter, he was screaming obscene words, saying ‘Muhammad is a paedophile’, ‘Muhammad is, you all are, you follow worse kind of people, you follow Muhammad’, he was saying a lot of bad words about Muhammad.”

He continues, “Without giving any warning, he just started shooting. Mustafa turned around. He started running and instead of shooting him once or twice, he emptied the whole clip on his back.”

Shaheed Jarwar, a friend of Ayoubi said he did CPR on his friend as he told him “don’t leave us, don’t leave us, don’t lose conscious”.

“It felt like he wanted to kill all of us. It felt like he had so much hate inside of him,” said Ashraf.Investigators say the shooting was reported as a hate crime but is not being investigated as one.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) National Litigation Director, Lena Masri, explained, “because there is no hate crime law in Indiana, it is imperative that federal charges be considered in this tragic case” .

“This tragedy shows why Indiana lawmakers must address the lack of hate crime legislation in the state.”

Masri added that state and national leaders must speak out against the growing Islamophobia nationwide that can result in such violent incidents.“We have seen an unfortunate spike in violent attacks and plots targeting American Muslims and their institutions in the era of Donald Trump,” said CAIR National Executive Director, Nihad Awad.

He cited recent arrests in an alleged bomb plot targeting Muslims in New York, guilty pleas in the bombing of a Minnesota mosque and sentencing of men in a plot to bomb Muslims in Kansas.

* Passarelli, was formally charged with murder on March 22.

Muslims face most discrimination in US

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