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Police Investigating Hate Crime After Man Attacks Muslim Store Owner

Hand-lettered Love Your Muslim Neighbor sign held aloft.

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES – 2015/12/09: Hand-lettered Love Your Muslim Neighbor sign held aloft. City council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito led an interfaith rally of political leaders and clergy on the steps of city hall to denounce Republican candidate Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslim entry into the US. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A Muslim store owner in Queens, New York is still in shock over an attack that police are treating as a hate crime, NBC4 New York reports.

The incident happened Saturday, when Piro Kolvani entered Fatima Food Mart, owned by Sarker Haque. Kolvani walked into the store and acted erratically before screaming “I’m gonna kill Muslims,” and began punching Haque in the face.

Two loyal customers ran into the store as Haque cried for help. One man, who wished to remain unidentified, restrained Kolvani, while another called the police. Kolvani was arrested and charged with assault. Police also added the case is being treated as a hate crime.

Haque suffered a dislocated hand, as well as multiple bruises and abrasions on his face.

Local leaders are rallying behind Haque, who is a longtime member of the Astoria area. The Anti-Defamation League also released a statement about the incident.

“This horrible attack, apparently motivated by anti-Muslim animus, is one of a string of attacks against the Muslim community in recent weeks as troubling rhetoric continues to intensify,” said ADL New York Regional Director Evan R. Bernstein.

Haque says Americans of all ethnicities should be unified following the Paris attacks and the fatal shooting of 14 in San Bernardino, Calif. The Huffington Post reports since the Paris attacks, there have been 52 Islamophobic incidents.

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