Hate crime in Queens. "Hate-crime charges in haircut attack," by Mitchell Freedman for Newsday, with thanks to all who sent this in:
A Queens high school student was charged with hate crimes Friday for violating a Sikh student's religious beliefs by forcing him to remove his turban and cutting his hair, the Queens district attorney said.
"The defendant is not accused of some schoolhouse prank, but an attack on the fundamental beliefs of his victim's religion and his freedom to worship freely," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said in a prepared statement.
Umair Ahmed, 17, of 42-49 77th St., was arrested in the Thursday attack in a bathroom at Newtown High School in Elmhurst.
Ahmed and another student allegedly forced the 15-year-old victim into the bathroom, and after threatening him forced the boy to remove his dastar, a traditional Sikh turban....
Ahmed used scissors to cut off his victim's waist-long hair, then threw it in a toilet and on the floor, according to a spokesman for the district attorney. Cutting a Sikh's hair is contrary to the Sikh faith, which considers hair a gift from God that should never be cut.
Ahmed was charged with second-degree unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, second-degree menacing as a hate crime, second-degree aggravated harassment, second-degree harassment and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He faces up to seven years in prison.
The victim told officials that he only went into the bathroom and took off his dastar because he feared that Ahmed would stab him....
The boy said it was against his religion, but Ahmed showed him a ring and said, "This ring is Allah. If you don't let me cut your hair, I will punch you with this ring."