Watch CBS News

Queens Store Owner Says He Was Beaten For Being A Muslim

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- A Queens man said he was viciously attacked and targeted because of his Muslim faith.

As CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported, police are investigating the beating as a possible hate crime.

With a black eye, cuts, and bruises Sarker Haque, owner of Fatima Food Mart in Astoria was back at work on Tuesday, still recovering from a disturbing assault.

"I thought he was gonna kill me," Haque said.

Haque didn't think twice when the nicely dressed man walked into his store on Saturday afternoon, until he started acting strangely.

"He asked me, 'do you have anything free?' I said 'what are you talking about buddy? What are you asking?'" he said.

Then Haque said, out of nowhere, the man got violent and began attacking.

"He just punched me, but then I fall down here, and then I was screaming, 'what the hell are you doing? What's wrong with you buddy?' And again he was ready to punch and then he said I was to 'kill Muslims,'" Haque said.

Haque, a Muslim, said the man followed him behind the counter and continued punching him for several minutes until a customer came in and stopped the attack.

"Then he's screaming, and he said 'let me get out of here,'" Haque said.

Police arrested 55-year-old Piro Kolzani.

Haque, who immigrated from Bangladesh 29 years ago, said he feels the tension because of his religion and current state of the world, now more than ever.

"I am a human being. I feel bad too," he said.

It's unclear why Kolzani allegedly targeted the Food Mart, but police said he has been charged with assault.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.