Hate crime probe urged in attack on Yemeni in New York

Hate crime probe urged in attack on Yemeni in New York
A hate crime probe is being urged following the violent attack on a Yemeni immigrant bodega owner in which assailants reportedly yelled racial slurs.
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
18 April, 2023
Yemeni immigrants in New York are known for running neighbourhood bodegas. [Getty]

Rights advocates are urging for a hate crime probe following the attack on a Yemeni immigrant bodega owner.

Jamal Sawaid was reportedly attacked by four assailants on Saturday while he was at the counter, resulting in a swollen face and head. The attackers, who did not steal anything, also reportedly yelled racial slurs.

"We stand in solidarity with Jamal Sawaid and the Brooklyn community against this senseless act of violence," said Ahmed Mohamed, legal director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-New York, in a public statement. On Tuesday, they held a press conference with the Alliance of Yemeni American Businesses calling for a hate crime investigation.

"No one should have to face such brutality, and we call for a thorough hate crime investigation to ensure that the alleged perpetrators are held accountable for their actions. It is imperative that we work together to combat hate in all its forms and create a safe and inclusive environment for all communities."

Sawaid has owned the shop on Coney Island in Brooklyn (neighbourhood markets are commonly known as bodegas) for 20 years. It not only supports him and his family but also families back in Yemen.  

"You see my lips and my nose and my forehead ... I cannot even eat," Sawaid said, according to a report by CBS News. Despite his deep wounds, he vowed to reopen soon.

So far, there have been no arrests made in the case's investigation, according to the CBS report.