“All I did was ask them to be quiet and they started attacking me and punching me in my back,” Souad Kirama said between sobs on a Facebook live video after the attack. (SOUAD KIRAMA VIA FACEBOOK)
A crew of hate-filled teenage girls attacked a Muslim woman at a Brooklyn Panera Bread, calling her a terrorist as they punched and spit at her, police said Friday.
Muslim community activist Souad Kirama was having coffee with a colleague inside the Panera Bread on Adams St. near Willoughby St. in Downtown Brooklyn when the girls began roughhousing with each other about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.
“All I did was ask them to be quiet and they started attacking me and punching me in my back,” Kirama said between sobs on a Facebook live video after the attack. “People were just standing there watching me being beaten up and being called a ‘f—ing terrorist.’”
“They were just having their coffee like nothing was happening,” she said of the onlookers.
The NYPD is investigating the incident as a hate crime.
“I made sure to report it as a hate crime,” Kirama, 51, said. “We cannot accept this.”
A worker at the Panera Bread said on the video that he had never seen the girls before, and the attack was “pretty quick.”
“Never in my life have I seen this kind of violence and aggressiveness,” Kirama said.
Police said Kirama’s injuries were minor. She was not hospitalized.
Kirama’s video has been viewed 100,000 times online, according to the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which hailed the decision to investigate the attack as a bias crime.
“It is intolerable to see so many New Yorkers do nothing in the face of this sort of hatred,” CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn. “At this moment, when Muslim New Yorkers are enduring a historic surge in hate crimes, we must all stand up when we see our neighbors being attacked.”