A 51-year-old woman told cops a group of teenage girls came up to her in a city-owned building in downtown Brooklyn, spat on her and whacked her in the head before calling her a "terrorist" and telling her to go back to her country, police say.
The NYPD says its hate crimes unit was notified about the Tuesday late afternoon attack inside a Panera Bread restaurant at 345 Adams Street. The 13-story building also houses the Department of Finance, the Department of Probation, the Board of Elections, the Administration for Children’s Services and various other city agencies.
The distraught woman, who was wearing a traditional hijab at the time of the attack, posted a Facebook Live video as police responded.
"I was just viciously attacked by a bunch of teenagers," said Souad Kirama, crying. "They attacked me, beat me up. And people were just standing there, watching me be beat up, called a 'f-----g terrorist,' and nobody did nothing. Nothing. Nobody stood up for me."
Kirama said there was a group of teenagers "terrorizing" the second floor of the eatery, throwing themselves on the floor and swinging on the chandelier, and cursing. She said she asked to them to "please be quiet."
Kirama said one of the girls kicked and spit on her, and the rest of the group joined in, punching her and saying hateful words.
"Never in my life have I seen this violence and aggressiveness," she said in tears.
It's not clear which office the woman was visiting, but she mentioned "ACS" several times in her Facebook Live video, in which she speaks both English and Arabic. She was not hospitalized.
The legal director of the New York chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, says he's grateful that the NYPD's hate crimes task force is responding.
"It is intolerable to see so many New Yorkers do nothing in the face of this sort of hatred. At this moment, when Muslim New Yorkers are enduring a historic surge in hate crimes, we must all stand up when we see our neighbors being attacked," said Albert Fox Cahn.
No arrests have been made.
A message was left with Panera Bread.