The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) yesterday called on US state and federal law enforcement authorities to file hate crime charges against Bert James Baker, the man accused of attacking a group of young Muslims after a pro-Palestinian protest in Austin, Texas.
On 4 February at around 7pm local time, four Muslim Americans who had just attended a protest in support of Palestinian human rights were driving home when a white male riding a bicycle, later identified as Bert James Baker, allegedly attempted to rip a flagpole with a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf reading ‘Free Palestine’ off of their car.
According to the victims, “Baker repeatedly screamed the n-word and other obscenities, opened the passenger door, pulled one of the victims out of the car and physically attacked him.” The three others then exited the car and fought off Baker. He then allegedly pulled out a knife and stabbed one of the young men in the chest, breaking one of his ribs, CAIR explained.
The stabbing victim again subdued Baker, who was arrested after police arrived on the scene. The father of the stabbing victim reports that he has undergone a successful surgery and is recovering in hospital.
“We strongly condemn this apparent act of hate… No one should be targeted and attacked because they put Palestinian-themed items on their vehicle. Anti-Palestinian racism and anti-Muslim bigotry have no place in Texas or anywhere else in our nation,” CAIR-Dallas Director Mustafa Carroll said.