New York City Council and Mayor de Blasio Must Protect Vendors; the NYPD Must Bring the Perpetrator of the Hate Crime to Justice
WHAT: Street Vendors and Allies Hold a Press Conference for Justice for Hassan Elbaz
WHO: The Street Vendor Project (project of Urban Justice Center), Council on
American-Islamic Relations and allies
WHEN: Thursday, July 19th at 11 AM
WHERE: Outside of 636 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
BACKGROUND: On July 12th, 2018, Hassane Elbaz, a Egyptian food vendor working at a coffee cart in lower Manhattan was attacked by an Islamophobic stranger. The assailant snuck up behind Elbaz’s cart, attacked and injured both Elbaz and his colleague, leaving them with black eyes and bruises. The attacker shouted “I’m going to f–k you up, terrorist m———-r! Arab, go back to your country!” The suspect, seen by witnesses, fled before the NYPD arrived. According to media reports, the NYPD has not yet classified the assault as a hate crime.
Today, vendors from across the city and their advocates called upon the city to investigate this incident, classify it as a hate crime, find the attacker, and take further steps to protect Elbaz and other vendors. “This is not the first anti-Muslim attack we have seen on our city’s street vendors,” said Sean Basinski, co-director of the Street Vendor Project.
“We need the city to protect our vendors,” said Cesar Boc, organizer at the Street Vendor Project. Muslim vendors in Lower Manhattan have recently been on the defensive against a plan to remove 22 vendors from the area. Many have blamed the atmosphere, not just at City Hall but also in Washington D.C. “This current political climate has only empowered racists and Islamophobias around the nation, and we are now seeing it here,” said Boc.