Arab-American civil rights activist attacked
Suspect allegedly threatened to behead Linda Sarsour
A leading Arab-American civil rights activist who has spoken out many times to condemn hate crimes against Arabs became the victim of a hate crime herself in Bay Ridge on Wednesday, authorities said.
Linda Sarsour, 34, executive director of the Arab-American Association of New York, was attacked by a man who allegedly yelled anti-Arab slurs at her and threatened to behead her during the incident, which took place outside the association’s headquarters at 7111 Fifth Avenue on the afternoon of Sept. 3.
The suspect, identified by police as Brian Boshell, 45, was arrested and charged with menacing, aggravated harassment as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon.
Sarsour told the New York Daily News that Boshell threatened to behead her to “see how your people feel about it,” and called her an “Arab bitch.”
Sarsour, who is a Palestinian-American, also told the Daily News that Boshell threw a trash can at her and a woman walking with her.
Sarsour, a high-profile Arab-American leader in New York City who has made numerous appearances on television news programs to discuss issues relating to the Middle East, wrote about her ordeal on her https://www.facebook.com/linda.sarsour?fref=ts Facebook page.
“My Deputy Director and I were harassed and assaulted by a bigoted drunk who hurled hateful Islamophobic and anti-Arab epithets at us on 5th Avenue in Bay Ridge. He had some sort of item or tool in his back pocket (we could see the handle of it) he ran after us and picked up a huge NYC metal garbage can and threw it at us causing us to have to run in to oncoming traffic,” she wrote.
On her Twitter page, Sarsour thanked Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force “for your diligent work on the unfortunate incident we experienced in Bay Ridge.”
Sarsour also took to Twitter to announce that despite the attack, she still loves Bay Ridge. “Hate is not the MO here. Just gotta clean out the few weeds when they act on their hate,” she wrote.
In addition to her role as executive director of the Arab-American Association, Sarsour is also a civic and political leader in the Bay Ridge-Sunset Park area. She is a member of Community Board 10. In January, she served as a master of ceremonies for the swearing in of Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook).
Menchaca paid tribute to her on Twitter. “Linda! Stand strong and proud. We have your back. Bigotry doesn’t have a place in our neighborhoods. Period.”
NY1 News reported that Boshell has 56 prior arrests.