In an incident that echoes the 9/11 backlash against Sikhs in New York City, a Bangladeshi man was assaulted after the Boston Marathon bombings by four men in the Bronx on the mistaken assumption that he was an Arab.
The New York Post reported that 30-year-old Abdullah Faruque, who was born in Bangladesh but grew up in the Bronx, was having dinner at a Bronx restaurant Monday night when three or four Hispanic men apparently wanted revenge for the Boston Marathon bombings earlier in the day (presumably they thought that the Boston blasts had been perpetrated by Arabs or Muslims).
The paper noted that the four men viciously beat Faruque while shouting “f--king Arab” at the Bengali man as he stepped out of the Applebee’s restaurant on Exterior Avenue in Melrose for a smoke.
“One of the guys asked if I was Arab,” Faruque told the Post. “I just shook my head, said like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ I didn’t even know that Boston happened because I had a busy day.”
As Faruque, a network engineer, turned to return to his meal, one of the other men said: “Yeah, he’s a f--king Arab,” leading to a brutal pummeling that dislocated Faruque’s left shoulder and left him semiconscious.
“Before I could grab the door, they started swinging at me,” Faruque said.
“I’ve been jumped before. If you can’t win, you back up, you try to protect yourself.”
Only after he returned home and learned of the Boston tragedy from the TV news did Faruque understand why he'd been a target.
“I saw the news, and then it hits me: That’s why I got jumped,” he said.
The New York Police Department is probing the beating as a hate crime.
People from South Asia, including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, are sometimes targeted for violence and abuse by people who mistake them for Arabs whenever news of terror attacks emerge in the media.
The situation was particularly dangerous for turbaned Sikhs (who are not Muslims) in the wake of 9/11, leading to at least one murder and innumerable assaults.
Palash has worked as a business journalist for 21 years in New York.