The family of a 17 year old girl who was attacked on a southwest Lincoln Street responded to the incident Friday. Nebraska State Senator Megan Hunt of Omaha said her Legislative Aide is muslim, speaks Arabic, and was able to communicate with the girl’s family. She read a letter from the family to her colleagues in the Legislature.
“She is one of the most innocent people we’ve ever known, and also one of the most hospitable and, yes, she is a Muslim.”
The letter said the family is “baffled” by the attack.
“The motivations behind [the victim’s] physical assault, which occurred only a few days before her high school graduation, were many things, and religious and ethnic discrimination were a couple of them. This occurrence implies that hatred and violence exist within our communities. This is not only detrimental to victims of discrimination or assault, but also to the greater community because it generates fear.”
The information released by Police, so far, is that two white males were making threatening and derogatory comments to the woman. Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister says the woman was attacked and suffered injuries to her face, arms and legs. Officers were called to the 1700 block of Westland Circle, just before 8:30pm Wednesday, after the assault was reported.
A plea was put out by Chief Bliemeister on Thursday morning, when he confirmed that the attack is being considered a hate crime. “We need the public’s help,” Bliemeister told reporters. “These individuals responsible have not been identified.” The content of the threats, he said, was the factor that initiated their “procedures and protocols for reporting and investigating hate crimes.”
The chief says one of the suspects had a bike, the other a skateboard. “They were last seen near SW 17th and West Rose, just after 8pm,” he said.
Police are still analyzing video, canvassing the area and going over digital evidence. Chief Bliemeister says if you have any information on the incident, call Lincoln Police at 402-441-6000 or leave an anonymous tip for Crime Stoppers at 402-475-3600.
After reading the letter, Senator Hunt also admonished some of her Legislative colleagues: “I’ve heard many people in this body say things that are derogatory to Muslims and I’ve seen several of your staff members say things on social media that are derogatory to Muslims. It’s very important for us not to normalize these discriminatory views by joking about it…and if you see your staff doing these things, you should tell them to stop – not because you need to be careful what you say on social media, but because you should not have views like that and be working in government.”