Crime and Courts

NYC Family Beaten, Terrorized by Neighbors in Possible Hate-Fueled Anti-Muslim Attack

The family said they were attacked in the parking lot outside their Queens home, and when the woman returned to the apartment after her husband was hospitalized, an attacker again threatened their lives

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A Queens family said they were beaten and terrorized by neighbors outside their home in an attack they believe was motivated by hate.

Neamat Taha said that she and her husband, Khaled Aly, were in the parking lot of their Rego Park building Friday night when another 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."

As the confrontation escalated, Taha's husband spoke up, telling the woman not to touch his wife. That's what got the man who was with the other woman involved — and it soon turned violent.

"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.

Taha's husband was hospitalized and underwent surgery for broken bones in his face. The bruises were still showing Wednesday, but perhaps even worse that the physical damage was the fear that the attackers instilled in the family.

"We're gonna kill you and killy your family," Taha said the suspects told them.

Taha returned home to get some belongings hours after the assault, bringing relatives with her because she felt afraid. That's when one of the suspects behind the attack spotted them from his window, she said.

"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," Taha told NBC New York.

The family is now staying with relatives, afraid to go back to the apartment they have called home for many years, in one of the most diverse places in the entire country — Queens.

"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.'"

On Friday, police said that one of the two alleged attackers had been arrested. Giselle DeJesus was charged with second-degree assault as a hate crime, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child and disorderly conduct.

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