The anonymous victim was treated in hospital after the assault, which took place as she walked home from morning prayers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Though police are investigating, no arrests have been made, according to local FOX6 News.
‘He threw me on the floor then he beat me like an animal… I said to myself, “I am going to die today for sure”‘
“I said to myself, ‘I am going to die today for sure,'” the 58-year-old woman told the local news station. “So he gets up from the car and told me to come here. He said to take my hijab, my scarf.
“I tried to fight him. ‘Don’t take my hijab,’ you know? So he threw me on the floor then he beat me like an animal.”
The attacker fled the scene of the crime, close to the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. There are an estimated 10- to 15,000 Muslims worshipping across the wider county of Milwaukee, according to religious leaders.
“The only motive we can think of – because everything stayed with her and this individual went straight for her scarf – is a hate crime.”
The woman managed to walk home, where she then suffered a seizure, her lawyer, Munjed Ahmad, told The Huffington Post. Ahmad said the woman is epileptic and the attack likely induced the seizure.
Ahmad told HuffPost the woman suffered a bloody nose, a laceration on her arm, a bloodied face, a black eye, and bruising on her face. Her hijab and a copy of the Quran she was carrying were both bloodied during the attack.
“None of us want this to be a hate crime,” Ahmad told HuffPost, because that would mean Muslims are “being targeted.”
There has been a slew of anti-Muslim hate incidents across the United States in recent months.
On Saturday, a woman in Los Angeles said a man repeatedly punched her and her dog in the street because she was wearing a hijab, telling her to go back to her country.
Over the course of one week in March, a Virginia Muslim family returned to their home to find their copy of the Quran destroyed and “FUCK MUSLIMS” written on a wall; Colorado police arrested a man for throwing a Bible and rocks through the glass doors of a mosque; and in Minnesota, a man allegedly told police his hatred of Muslims drove him to stab a Somali man.
Twice in one week in March, men allegedly threatened to shoot Muslim women who were in public with their children.
The number of hate groups specifically targeting Muslims in the US nearly tripled across 2016, and figures from major cities suggest that Islamophobic hate crime has been on the rise since Donald Trump was elected.
The Southern Poverty Law Centre documented close to 900 incidents of harassment and intimidation in just 10 days after the US presidential election.