A Muslim New York City police officer who was allegedly a victim of a hate crime over the weekend spoke with reporters Monday about her experience. Officer Aml Elsokary said in the press conference, covered by CBS New York, that crimes like this will not be tolerated.
“I have faith that Allah is going to help us through this hard time,” Elsokary said. “For my sisters out there, you’re not alone. I’m with you, day and night.”
Elsokary, who was honored in 2014 for saving a woman and her granddaughter from a burning building in the city's Brooklyn borough, was off-duty Saturday when she was reportedly targeted for wearing her hijab.
Elsokary dropped her son off in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge neighborhood and went to park her car. She returned and found a man shoving and yelling at her son. When Elsokary approached, the man reportedly yelled at her, “ISIS [expletive], I will cut your throat; go back to your country,” CBS reports.
Christopher Nelson, 36, was arrested Monday and charged with menacing as a hate crime and second-degree aggravated harassment; at his arraignment on Monday, bail was set at $50,000. Nelson’s neighbors told CBS that they were shocked by the allegations against him.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the issue Monday at a New York City Police Department crime-statistics news conference.
“I was sick to my stomach when I heard that one of our officers was subjected to threats and taunting simply because of her faith,” de Blasio said. “We can’t allow this.
“This is Officer Elsokary’s country. She is an American; she is a New Yorker. She is already at home,” he continued. “She serves this city. She is an example of everything we would want from our fellow citizens—a commitment to others, a commitment to service, a willingness to do something greater than herself, and what does she get for it? Threats to her life and bigotry, taunts.”
Elsokary told CBS that she became a police officer to help all New Yorkers regardless of their beliefs.
“I’m born and raised here, and I’m here to protect you, and I know that my department and my city is here to protect me,” she said. “I became a police officer to show the positive side of a New Yorker, Muslim woman that can do the job, that is nonbiased, that I can help everybody no matter what’s your religion.”
According to CBS, the NYPD says that hate crimes have gone up in the city, and from Nov. 8, Election Day, through Nov. 27, there were 34 reported hate crimes, compared with 13 during the same period last year.
Elsokary said that her advice to others who may find themselves the victim of a hate crime is to report it and not be scared.
“You have a sister who is on this team fighting for you as well,” Elsokary said.
Read more at CBS New York.