Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Muslim student attacked on campus, hate crime review pending

Reid Stacy/The Daily Texan
Update: The attack will go before Austin Police Department’s Hate Crimes Review Committee to determine if it will be classified as a hate crime in May. The investigation is still ongoing.

Three men attacked a Muslim student and his friend on Friday, and the Austin Police Department Hate Crimes Review Committee is evaluating whether the attack was a hate crime.

The Muslim student, who asked to be identified only as “D” for safety reasons, said he was wearing a kurta – a type of dress associated with the South Asian Muslim community – and walking with his friend at about 11 p.m. outside of Dobie Twenty21 when the three men stood in their path yelling “Allahu Akbar” and pejoratives. The attack took place as D was walking home after praying Ramadan night prayers at Nueces Mosque. 

D said his friend, who asked to be anonymous for safety reasons, verbally responded to the men and pushed one of them when they refused to move. D said the men punched them in response, leaving him with a bloody mouth and his friend with a bruise on his head. The two students fled the scene after one of the men told them he was armed with a knife, D said. 

The Council on American-Islamic Relations said yesterday in a statement this attack was the latest in a “disturbing pattern” of Islamophobia in the UT community. Since the start of the academic year, reported Islamophobic events include Palestinian and Muslim students being called “terrorists” on Oct. 12, Nueces Mosque receiving a threat on Oct. 19 before an iftar event, a man yelling at Muslim students that they are “going to hell” on Nov. 1 and a Palestinian-American Muslim man stabbed in West Campus on Feb. 4. 

“I just happened to be the next victim to this,” D said. 

D said he initially did not want to file a police report because he had “no faith” it would result in police or UT taking meaningful measures to protect Muslim students. He filed a police report the following day after speaking with friends in the Muslim community, but he said he remains skeptical about a response from UT administration. 

He said empty statements from the University aren’t enough, and UT has made “no fundamental changes” to keep Muslim students safe and create an atmosphere where they feel heard. 

“While UT could not have done anything to specifically stop my attack, their passive reaction to previous instances of violence has created a system where assailants feel empowered,” D said. 

The University said in an April 9 statement that it reached out to the Muslim community to offer support and emphasized its commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all students. 

“(UT) has no tolerance for violence or other hateful actions against any of our community members, including those in our Muslim, Palestinian and Arab communities,” the statement said.

Editor’s Note: This story previously stated that the attack had already been voted a hate crime. It has been corrected to state that the Hate Crimes Review Committee will vote on this in May. The Texan regrets this error.

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