A Queens woman accused of shouting an anti-Muslim slur while grabbing a woman’s headscarf and then attacking her husband was charged Friday with assault as a hate crime and other offenses, authorities said.
Giselle DeJesus, 35, was being held on $10,000 bond after her arraignment Friday, court records show. A message seeking comment was left for her lawyer.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz called the episode a “malicious assault” that left the husband with extensive facial fractures that needed surgery.
“A family was terrorized because of their religious beliefs,” the Democrat said.
According to prosecutors, DeJesus and the couple live on the same street in the Rego Park neighborhood, and DeJesus harassed the wife and the couple’s two children in an encounter Sept. 27.
Then, prosecutors say, DeJesus and and a man accosted the couple and the children Nov. 6. in a parking lot behind the apartment building where the family lives. Neamat Taha said that the couple approached them after staring them down.
"She tell me we are in America, we can do whatever we want, we can look at you whatever we want, we can say whatever we want," Taha said. "She start to hold my hijab like this, and she tell me a lot of bad words about Muslims."
DeJesus took hold of the wife’s hijab while hollering “Muslim” and an obscenity at her, prosecutors said. They said that when the husband intervened and asked for his family to be left alone, the man — who’s still at large — pushed him to the ground, kicked him in the head and face and threatened to kill his family. DeJesus kicked him in the stomach and yelled obscenities, according to prosecutors.
"He starts yelling, 'Guys, just stay away from my family, why you keep scare us.' He hold him right away, and he start to push him, he fell on the floor, both started kicking him," Taha said of her husband being attacked by the dastardly duo, with the woman kicking him in the stomach as she continued her Islamophobic rant.
"We're gonna kill you and kill your family," Taha said the suspects told them. "He showed me something shiny, I don't know what kind of weapon, and said, 'I have a weapon, if I saw you here anymore, I will burn you and burn your kids."
The New York Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said Friday the husband has been released from the hospital, but the family is afraid to go home.
"My kids, they never sleep from that time, they're so afraid," Taha said. "They tell me, 'We so afraid, we need to leave that area.'"
“We are hopeful that the male suspect will soon be arrested and charged so that the family can feel safe again,” said the chapter’s legal director, Ahmed Mohamed.