Muslim cab driver Farrukh Afzal of Staten Island was charged on Sunday with a hate crime after allegedly beating an Orthodox Jewish man in Brooklyn, New York. Afzal, a 37-year-old Muslim man, allegedly beat Lipa Schwartz, 62, who was on his way to daily prayers at a nearby synagogue. Afzal has been charged with criminal mischief and harassment, in addition to the hate crime.
“All of a sudden ‘boom!’ I tried to protect myself, run away. I fell. He come again on me,’ Schwartz told ABC. Schwartz told Boro Park 24: “In that instant I saw death for my eyes’ but ultimately felt he should ‘fight back and wrestle myself out of this attack.”
On Sunday, Schwartz was walking in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn when Afzal stopped his car. Afzal descended from the vehicle and raw up to Schwartz and proceeded to beat him, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Schwartz alleged that the assailant addressed him in an unintelligible language. However, Schwartz recognized the words “Allah” and “Israel.” Schwartz was hospitalized after suffering cuts and bruises to his head. A second Orthodox Jew, who tried to come to Schwartz’s aid, was allegedly chased away by Afzal.
On Sunday, the ADL released a statement deploring this and a recent series of similar attacks on the large Jewish community in Brooklyn. “We are deeply disturbed by and unequivocally condemn this horrific attack, and thank the New York City Police Department and its Hate Crimes Task Force for taking swift action in this case and for investigating a bias motive,” said Evan Bernstein, ADL’s New York and New Jersey regional director. “Brooklyn is a community of great diversity, and incidents like these can damage the fabric of our society and fragment communities. We will continue to offer our support in responding to hate, so that New York City remains safe and inclusive for all.”
According to the ADL, there have been 11 anti-Semitic assaults in New York n 2018. Eight occurred in Brooklyn.
The Sunday incident was recorded by a surveillance camera and shows Afzal of the Church Avenue Car Service beating Schwartz. Afzal was not licensed to operate a cab. He has been arrested several times in the past.