A Muslim woman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, alleges that a man "beat her like an animal" and cut her arm with a knife after early morning prayers at a local mosque, leaving her headscarf bloodied and her jacket torn.
"I said to myself, 'I am going to die today for sure,'" the woman, who did not want to be identified, told FOX6 News in Milwaukee.
The woman told the station that during her walk home, just outside the mosque, a car drove alongside her and an unidentified man exited the vehicle. She alleges that he only wanted one thing — for her to take off her hijab, a headscarf worn by some Muslim women.
"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 woman said, adding that after the man threw her down, he took her hijab off, and stomped on her head numerous times while swearing.
The woman also said the man took out a knife and cut her jacket and arm. Images of a bloodied headscarf and jacket were shown in the local news report.
When the woman returned home, she said she suffered a seizure, went to the hospital, and was released the following afternoon.
A spokesperson for Milwaukee Police Department confirmed the details of certain aspects of the woman's story, and added there was no reason to doubt its validity. The spokesperson also said that the incident was not being investigated as a hate crime "at this time," and that the police are still searching for the suspect.
Many members of the local Muslim American community believe the attack to be a hate crime and are asking authorities to look into the alleged attack as one.
Munjed Ahmad, an attorney and a board member of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, told BuzzFeed News that the attack was undoubtedly a hate crime because the individual began "his abuse of the lady," who he described as "frail" and in her upper 50s, by grabbing for her hijab.
"When he approached her he immediately reached for her hijab and she resisted. When she became resistive to him he even became even more violent," Ahmad said, adding that she was also injured from what they believed is a small knife on her arm.
"We're going to let the police do their jobs, and we hope and anticipate that the Milwaukee Police Department will apprehend the perpetrator, and when that happens, the hope is more clarity will be brought from that apprehension. But we clearly believe it's a hate crime," Ahmad said.