A man was charged Wednesday with hate crimes in New York City after prosecutors say he attacked Muslims and tried to forcibly remove a woman's hijab.
Naved Durrni, 30, is accused of a series of hate crimes over the course of about five weeks during which he allegedly followed Muslims in Queens before yelling anti-Muslim statements and attacking them, according to a statement from the Queens District Attorney's Office.
In one of three incidents detailed by the office, Durrni is accused of following a man and woman in Queens in June while yelling anti-Muslim slurs and Islamophobic statements. Prosecutors say Durrni tried to pull off the woman's hijab and demanded she take it off. When the woman did not remove the hijab, Durrni punched the woman in the arm and the man in the back, according to the statement.
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An hour after the first attack, Durrni allegedly followed a 64-year-old man and a 56-year-old woman and used anti-Muslim slurs before punching the woman in the face and head several times. The woman suffered a fractured nose and cuts to her head and face and was treated at a local hospital.
In July, prosecutors say Durrni hurled anti-Muslim slurs at a woman "wearing traditional Muslim clothing." When the woman tried to call the police, Durrni pulled out a knife and pointed it at the woman before fleeing, the statement said.
Durrni faces charges of assault as a hate crime and criminal possession of a weapon. He faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.
"As alleged, the defendant attacked and intimidated individuals because of their beliefs. That type of hate will not be tolerated in Queens County, where our diversity is our greatest strength," Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in the statement.
Durrni turned himself in Tuesday, according to the statement.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: New York City anti-Muslim attacks: Man charged with hate crimes