A woman named Asma Jama was casually hanging out with her family in a suburban Minneapolis Applebee’s restaurant when something strange happened.
While waiting for her food, Jama was chatting with her cousins and nieces in Swahili when a couple sitting next to them became upset at hearing the family converse in a foreign language.
Jodie Burchard-Risch, 43, and her husband were allegedly angry that being in the United States, Jama was speaking in a language other than English, and hit her in the face with a glass mug, leaving Jama with cuts across her face and a deep gash on her lip.
Burchard-Risch told Jama to "go home. When you're in America, you should speak English," according to reports by Minnesota Public Radio News.
"I'm home," Jama responded to the couple. "I can speak English, but we choose to speak whatever language we want."
According to authorities, Burchard-Risch responded by hitting Jama in the face with a glass mug, leaving the multi-lingual Minnesota resident with injuries that required 17 stitches.
"I [can't] believe after all these years somebody hit me because I'm different," Jama told MPR. "Somebody hit me because I was speaking a different language."
Hate crimes in America have significantly risen over the past decade. According to the FBI hate crime statistics, of the 1,223 anti-religious hate crimes, 13.7 percent of them were anti-Islamic (Muslim).
Burchard-Risch was arrested on Monday and charged with third-degree assault. Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, released a statement arguing "the current charge is insufficient to communicate the seriousness of and possible bias motive for the alleged attack."
The victim, Jama, understandably says she feels “traumatized” and “doesn’t feel safe leaving the house alone.”
"I'm actually thinking about moving out of Minnesota. I’m scared for my life. I don't feel comfortable here anymore," she said.