Man attacks Muslim airline employee at New York airport

New York, Jan 28 (IANS) A US businessman is facing hate crime charges after he allegedly shouted slurs at and kicked a Muslim airline employee in New York’s John.F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport, the media reported on Friday.

The suspect, 57-year-old Robin A. Rhodes of Worcester, landed at JFK Airport from Aruba on Wednesday evening, where he was to take a connecting flight back home to Massachusetts, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said on Thursday.

As he waited inside the Delta Sky Lounge at Terminal 2, he approached Rabeeya Khan, in her office, NBC New York reported.

She was wearing a hijab, according to the DA.

“Are you sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?” Rhodes allegedly said to her before punching the door, which hit the back of Khan’s chair.

When she asked what she had done to make him angry, Rhodes allegedly responded: “You did nothing, but I am going to kick your a**.”

Rhodes then kicked her in the right leg, the prosecutors said, and when she tried to get away from him by retreating to a corner of the office, he kicked the door, stepped into the office and blocked Khan from leaving.

When someone else came over to the office to try to calm Rhodes down, he moved away from the door, and Khan ran out of the office, NBC New York reported.

Rhodes still followed her, then got down on his knees and began to bow down, mimicking a Muslim prayer, prosecutors said, and allegedly shouted, “Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kinds of people. You will see what happens.”

As he was being arrested, Rhodes allegedly told police, “I guess I am going to jail for disorderly conduct. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman because their back was to me and they had something covering their head.”

Rhodes appeared in court on Thursday night on charges of assault and menacing as hate crimes and is being held on $30,000 bail.

His next hearing is due on February 8.

–IANS

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