Americans allegedly attempted to remove a Saudi woman’s veil at a Michigan shopping centre
An American man who allegedly attempted to pull off a Saudi Muslim woman’s abaya has been charged with ethnic intimidation and assault, according to a New York newspaper.
Jonathan Patrick Deuel, 29, was allegedly one of three men who surrounded the 26-year-old Saudi woman when she was walking with her 5-year-old daughter to her car at a shopping centre car park in Meridian Township, a suburb in the state of Michigan, on July 19.
They then attempted to remove her abaya, the traditional veil and cloak worn by some Muslim women in public.
The woman was allegedly knocked to the ground while her attackers shouted slurs and cursed at her. The men fled after the woman’s husband heard her cry out for help.
Muslim activists have called the incident a “hate crime”, New York Daily News said.
The woman was hospitalised for 36 hours, complaining of chest pain and a numbness in her left arm.
Local police said Deuel would be the only suspect charged over the attack.
He faces up to two years’ jail and a $5000 fine for ethnic intimidation, the newspaper said.
Council on American-Islamic Relations Michigan executive director Dawud Walid welcomed the charges against Deuel but was “disappointed” the two other men accused of being involved would not be charged.
“There are two other reported culprits and neither one of them has been charged,” Walid was quoted as saying.
“She’s recuperated from the physical injuries, which weren’t very severe,” Walid said. “But she’s still traumatised mentally.”
Walid said the Saudi family was living in the US while the husband studied a PhD.