Washington, DC | www.adc.org | February 4, 2016 – The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) urges the Philadelphia Police Department to thoroughly investigate the violent assault of an Arab American as a hate crime and to pursue hate crime charges against the perpetrator(s). Amine Aouam was physically assaulted at around 12 AM on the morning of Sunday, January 17 in Philadelphia’s Center City. Mr. Aouam has retained ADC to provide representation in the case.
ADC strongly believes that the senseless assault of Mr. Aouam was committed because of his Arab ethnicity. Mr. Aouam was attacked after speaking in Arabic, saying to a woman, “Masaa al-Khair” (“good evening”). Mr. Aouam said his assailant yelled, “Take that sh*t and shove it up your *ss,” less than 10 seconds afterward.
ADC sent a letter to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. today and strongly urged him to conduct an extensive investigation of the assault as a hate crime. Pennsylvania state law provides that when physical assault and other crimes are motivated by bias or hate, the criminal charge may be elevated to a more serious crime with a more severe penalty.
In ADC’s letter, Legal and Policy Director Abed Ayoub stated, “It is important that the Philadelphia Police Department vigilantly investigate such incidents of hate-motivated crimes. Strong and decisive action from the Philadelphia Police Department will help to deter such hate crimes in the future, as well as to ensure that minority communities trust law enforcement and feel welcome in their community.”
ADC is seriously concerned that similar assaults reported in Philadelphia among other minority groups and members of the LGBTQ community, particularly following the Mummers Parade, which mocked minority communities, have not been substantively addressed.