Sarker Haque of Bangladesh and a resident of Queens, New York, said he was viciously attacked and targeted because of his Muslim faith. As CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, police are investigating the beating as a possible hate crime.
With a black eye, cuts, and bruises, Haque, the owner of Fatima Food Mart in Astoria, was back at work Dec. 8, still recovering from a disturbing assault. “I thought he was gonna kill me,” Haque said, as reported by CBS.
Haque didn’t think twice when the man walked into his store on the afternoon of Dec. 5. “He asked me, ‘Do you have anything free?’ I said, ‘What are you talking about, buddy?’” Then, Haque said, out of nowhere, the man got violent and began attacking.
“He just punched me, but then I fall down here, and then I was screaming, ‘What the hell are you doing? What’s wrong with you, buddy?’ And again he was ready to punch and then he said I was to ‘kill Muslims,’” Haque said.
Haque, a Muslim, said the man followed him behind the counter and continued punching him for several minutes until a customer came in and stopped the attack. Police arrested 55-year-old Piro Kolzani in connection with the assault.
Haque, who emigrated from Bangladesh 29 years ago, said he feels the tension because of his religion and current state of the world, now more than ever. It’s unclear why Kolzani allegedly targeted the Food Mart, but police said he has been charged with assault.