A New York City postal worker was arrested Tuesday for allegedly spitting on, threatening and shouting anti-Muslim sentiments at a Muslim woman and her infant daughter last week in the borough of Brooklyn, the New York Daily News reported. Dainton Coley also told the woman he would burn down the mosque she worships at, police said.
Coley allegedly confronted the woman -- was who wearing a hijab, a head scarf worn by some Muslim women -- as she was walking in front of a deli Friday with her sister and pushing a stroller, and made anti-Muslim comments, using Jamaican expletives. After he allegedly spit on the woman multiple times, she went into the deli.
Coley followed the woman into the store and continued to verbally assault her, according to the report. A worker at the deli and the woman’s sister tried to intervene, and the woman’s sister reportedly called Coley crazy.
“I’m not crazy; I work in the post office,” Coley allegedly said to the woman, according to the Daily News.
Coley has been charged with manner injurious to a child for making the comments in front of the infant, as well as aggravated harassment and menacing as a hate crime.
Hate crimes against Muslims in New York are down 43 percent from about the same time last year, the Daily Mail reported. However, Friday's incident comes at a time when anti-Muslim bias is on the rise in the United States.
In a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, Muslims were the least-well-received religious group in the United States. On a scale of 0-100 on the study’s “feeling thermometer,” Muslims had an average rating of 40 percent; they were viewed more coldly than other groups, such as atheists and Mormons.
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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has expressed openness to creating a database for all Muslims in the U.S., the Huffington Post reported. Fellow GOP candidate Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has also advocated for cracking down on places where Muslims gather.