An unidentified woman confronted a toddler and his father, who was wearing a Palestinian scarf, at a Brooklyn playground Tuesday, accusing them of being terrorists and hurling a cup of hot coffee at them.
The incident occurred at the Edmonds Playground in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood around 12:30 p.m. Monday, according to the NYPD.
The victim, Ashish Prashar, was on the playground with his 18-month-old son, who was playing with her son, when the unidentified woman told him that he and his son had to go, and called them “terrorists.”
The 40-year-old father was wearing a black and white Palestinian scarf, or keffiyeh. Prashar recorded the woman as she threw her coffee at him and his son.
Both Prasher and his son were unharmed.
“My whole goal was to protect my son,” Prashar said. “There was disbelief in the beginning when she called me a terrorist. But then it got worse, and it got more serious. I needed to protect my son and keep him at a safe distance.”
The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the incident. The organization’s mission is to promote justice, enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, and empower Muslim Americans.
CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher stated that the data shows an “unprecedented” increase in complaints of anti-Muslim or anti-Arab bias since the latest violence between Israeli’s and Palestinians.
Chief of Detectives Joseph Kenny said that hate crimes were down in the city by 8% this year, but have spiked since the October 7 Hamas strike in Israel.
“We are seeing a return of the post-9/11 hysteria and violence targeting anyone perceived to be Arab or Muslim,” said Nasher. “This attack on a father with his young son is absolutely despicable and we urge law enforcement authorities to be swift and thorough in investigating and apprehending a suspect. These bigoted attacks must stop.”
NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident and hoping to get a positive identification on the woman.