A young man dressed in Muslim attire was punched attacked near a train station in Washington, DC Friday. He was punched in his collarbone and not badly injured but he believes he was targeted because of how he was dressed.
Rashid Dar told BuzzFeed News that he was on his way to deliver a sermon for the Friday prayer at a local church his mosque rents out.
He said he was dressed in a black overcoat – also called a jubba – that he bought from a visit to Turkey. He also wore a black hat that he said has many different names, including taqiyah.
The 27-year-old said he always wears Muslim attire on Fridays, and typically keeps the clothes he wears to his job as a Brookings Institution research assistant underneath.
“I think a lot of Muslim men can sneak under the radar,” he said. “My wife wears a scarf. I always wanted to wear hats and grow my beard out if only in solidarity with women who bear the scrutiny most of the time.”
Dar was walking to a cafe with his brother when he said a man approached them on the sidewalk near DC’s Dupont Metro station.
“He dropped his bag, he wound up, and punched me straight in the...I’m sure he was aiming for my throat, but he hit my collarbone,” he said.
After the man hit him, Dar’s brother began to yell at him. He said the assailant “put up his arms in a fighting position,” and the two began to circle each other as if they were about to fight.
“A couple of guys in the street had seen what happened and tried to break it up,” Dar said. “Then, in all that ruckus, he took the opportunity to run.”
Once Dar got to the cafe, he tweeted his story to DC Metro Police.
Dar later filed a report, and the department assigned a detective to his case.
Dar described the attacker as a black man in his 20s or 30s with a grey baseball cap and dark clothing, according to a report from the DC Metro Police Department sent to BuzzFeed News. But he said he is not focused on the individual who punched him.
“I’m not so concerned about bringing this specific perpetrator to justice,” he said. “I’m more concerned about the permissive environment that made this person feel, in his mind, that it was OK to punch a Muslim person.”
Though it was difficult for him to sleep last night because of the pain on his collarbone, Dar said that he will not allow the incident to affect the way he carries himself.
“I’m not ashamed of being a Muslim,” he said. “Now that this attack has happened, I’m not going to change anything about how I go about my day. I don’t want that to be a result of what comes out of this.”