An American woman, who is reportedly a supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, is facing hate crime charges for attacking two Muslim women in New York, prosecutors say.
The woman identified as Emirjeta Xhelili, was arrested in Brooklyn on Thursday, after she attacked the women as they were pushing two baby carriages. Xhelili tried to rip the veils (Hijab) from the women's heads as she was punching them in the face, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office said on Friday.
According to court documents, Xhelili, 32, hurled Islamophobic insults and struck the women in the face and body. She repeatedly shouted, "This is the United States of America, you're not supposed to be different from us."
The assailant also pushed one stroller to the ground and rattled the other, as two infants sat inside them, the documents said.
The attorney’s office described the incident as a hate crime, charging Xhelili with offenses including assault, reckless endangerment of a child and harassment.
She is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations of New York (CAIR) also denounced the incident and urged the attorney’s office to prosecute “this horrific attack vigorously.”
Afaf Nasher, executive director of CAIR in New York said, by prosecuting the woman, the court should send the message “that hate attacks targeting any minority group will not be tolerated."
"We urge mosques and Islamic institutions to increase security measures,” she added.
“CAIR has noted a spike in anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes in recent months, which the civil rights groups attribute at least in part to Islamophobic rhetoric used by various public figures," she said.
According to TheDaily News, less than an hour before the attack, Xhelili posted several social media posts on her Facebook account, in which she cheered the candidacy of Trump, who has been under fire for making anti-Muslim remarks throughout his controversial campaign.
Trump has called for banning all Muslims from entering the US. The real estate mogul has also proposed that all American Muslims should be registered in a national database for security reasons and said that the US would have "absolutely no choice" but to close down some mosques.