Dearborn Police said today they are investigating an alleged bias assault by two white men against an Arab Muslim man who was shopping Thursday at a Kroger grocery store in the city. The incident sparked fears among Muslims (who dominate) in Dearborn that they are not safe from bias attacks even in a city that has the highest concentration of Muslims in the U.S.
Detroit Free Press Kathy McMillan Bazzi, 60, of Dearborn told the Free Press that two white men at a Kroger near the corner of Michigan and Greenfield avenues attacked the Muslim man and taunted his daughter, who wears an Islamic headbag or hijab. Bazzi said the pair were passing by the man and his family while making insulting comments about ISIS and Muslims.
Bazzi said the men used derogatory words against the Muslim man. “I hear ‘ISIS,’ I hear ‘terrorist,’ I hear ‘go back to your country’ and ‘raghead,'” Bazzi said in an interview Friday with the Free Press. Then, “all of a sudden, the man is punching this Arabic man, fists started flying.”
Bazzi, a white convert to Islam who wears a hijab and is a lifelong Dearborn resident, said the Muslim man tried to defend himself with punches and one of his attackers “got all bloodied.”
At one point, the young son of the Muslim man “tried to jump in,” but Bazzi blocked his path to prevent a further escalation. Meanwhile, the young “daughter was hysterical,” Bazzi said. During the attack, she said, an employee of Kroger “came and he grabbed the Muslim guy, and let the … guys beat on him. They were throwing punches at the Muslim guy.”
Afterward, the Kroger employee said, ” ‘Oh, I was just trying to break it up,’ ” Bazzi said. “But that’s not what I saw. He held that guy.”