Two Men Charged With Hate Crimes For Allegedly Assaulting Imam

Two men have been charged with assault and robbery as a hate crime after attacking a Muslim religious leader on a New York City subway platform.

According to prosecutors, the two men, Albert Melendez, 30, and Eddie Crespo, 28, spotted the unidentified imam on the A train in Manhattan at about 3 a.m. Wednesday morning.

“What are you, a camel jockey? I don’t like Muslims,” Melendez said, according to the criminal complaint.The imam got off the train at the Canal Street station, and the two men allegedly followed him. One allegedly tried to kick him, and a struggle ensued, with the imam managing to wrestle Melendez to the ground. Crespo then allegedly held the imam down so Melendez could get up, rip the kufi from the imam’s head and throw it on the subway tracks.

Then, according to prosecutors, Melendez punched the imam several times in the face. He was reportedly treated by paramedics and not hospitalized.

The two men were arraigned today and charged with two counts each of robbery as a hate crime and one count each of third-degree assault as a hate crime.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations identified the Muslim man as an imam. CAIR, which said it has been in touch with the imam, said in a press release that the men also said, “Fuck all you Muslims. All of you are terrorists.”

In late August, a 21-year-old film school student in New York City was arrested on hate crimes charges after allegedly slashing a Muslim cab driver in the face and neck with a knife.

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