A Michigan man is facing jail time for an alleged assault against a Muslim mom. Jonathan Patrick Deuel, 29, was charged with ethnic intimidation and misdemeanor assault and battery on Thursday for what Muslim activists are calling a “hate crime.”
The July 19 attack came as the woman and her family were enjoying a day at a Meridian Township mall. 26-year-old woman was walking to her car with her 5-year-old daughter when a group of three – two men and one woman – surrounded her. According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the attackers attempted to pull off the woman’s niqab and abaya – the traditional veil and cloak that some Muslim women wear in public.
The woman was allegedly knocked to the ground while her attackers shouted slurs and cursed at her. The assailants fled after the woman’s husband heard her cries and rushed to the scene. The mom was hospitalized for 36 hours, complaining of chest pain and a numbness in her left arm.
Meridian Township Police announced that Deuel will be the only suspect charged for the attack. The ethnic intimidation charge is a felony which could cost Deuel up to two years in prisonl and a $5,000 fine, MLive reports. The misdemeanor charge could carry an imprisonment of up to 93 days and fines of up to $500.
CAIR-Michigan’s executive director Dawud Walid welcomed the charges against Deuel on Friday, but said he was “disappointed” that the other two attackers remained on the loose. “There are two other reported culprits and neither one of them has been charged,” Walid told The News.
Walid said that the woman and her husband, a PhD student, were Saudi nationals. “She’s recuperated from the physical injuries, which weren’t very severe,” Walid said. “But she’s still traumatized mentally.”