NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Sarker Haque, a store owner in Astoria, Queens, says he was attacked because he is Muslim. You can see his black eye. That's just one of the injuries Haque suffered when a Florida man entered his Fatima Food Mart on Saturday. Police say Piro Colvani, 55, punched Haque while allegedly shouting anti-Muslim slurs.
Haque got emotional as he implored all American Muslims not to be afraid.
Haque immigrated to the United States from Bangladesh and is a U.S. citizen. He is a married father of 5 children, all honor students, and showed me some of the cards made by their classmates. Messages of support from his neighbors and customers filled the store, a popular neighborhood landmark in this predominantly immigrant community.
The many local residents and community leaders who came out to support him made a strong statement that this type of violence will not be tolerated.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris said that locals came to Haque's aid and held down the attacker until cops arrived.
The NYPD is investigating the incident as a bias crime. Colvani was issued a desk appearance ticket and released.