A Hijab-clad Muslim airline employee in the US has been racially attacked, kicked by a man who shouted slurs at her and said “Trump is here now” and “he will get rid of all of you”, officials said.
Rabeeya Khan, a Delta Airline employee, was sitting in her office in the Delta Sky Lounge of the John F Kennedy International Airport on Wednesday when Robin Rhodes, 57, of Worcester, who had arrived from Aruba and was awaiting a connecting flight to Massachusetts approached her, Queens District Attorney Richard A Brown, said in a statement on Thursday.
“Are you sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?” Rhodes allegedly said to the employee before punching the door, which hit the back her chair,” prosecutors were quoted as saying by the New York Times.
Khan asked Rhodes what she did to him, prosecutors said. He replied, “You did nothing but I am going to kick your ass,” prosecutors said.
He then kicked her in the right leg, prosecutors said, and when she tried to get away from him he kicked the door and blocked her from leaving.
When another person tried to calm him, he moved away from the door and Khan ran to the front desk of the lounge, according to the statement.
But Rhodes still followed her, then got down on his knees and began to bow down, mimicking a Muslim prayer, prosecutors said, and allegedly shouted, “Islam, ISIS, Donald 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.”
Rhodes, of Massachusetts, was charged with assault, unlawful imprisonment, menacing and harassment as hate crimes, among other counts. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison.
When he was arrested, Rhodes told the 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.”
Delta says the victim is employed by a contractor, not by Delta directly, but “what happened in this incident is totally unacceptable and Delta has and will continue to fully cooperate with authorities in this investigation.