Robin A. Rhodes, 57, has been indicted on charges of unlawful imprisonment and aggravated harassment in the incident. He also faces hate crime charges. According to the charges, the victim “suffered substantial pain and redness in her right leg and was placed in fear of physical injury, annoyance and alarm.” Rhodes now faces up to four years in prison.
In yet another sad incident of racism in President Donald Trump’s America, a Massachusetts man allegedly assaulted and hurled racist slurs at a Muslim airline worker who was wearing a hijab at the Kennedy International Airport.
“Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you,” traveler Robin A. Rhodes reportedly yelled.
According to prosecutors, Rhodes, who arrived from Aruba, was waiting for his connecting flight in the Delta Sky Lounge when he approached airline worker Rabeeya Khan. He went to her office door and asked if she was praying before launching a profanity-laced tirade at the woman.
"Are you [expletive] sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?" he said before punching the door, hitting Khan’s chair.
Traumatized, the airline employee asked Rhodes what she had done.
"You did nothing, but I am going to kick your [expletive]," he shouted.
The bigoted 57-year-old then kicked Khan in the right leg. When she tried to run away, he kicked the door, blocking her way out. She was only able to escape the horrific situation when another person went to the room and tried to calm Rhodes down.
As the reports show, Khan ran to the front desk of the lounge. But Rhodes followed her and got down on his knees, bowing down to mimic the Muslim prayers.
“[Expletive] Islam, [expletive] ISIS, Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kinds of people,” he continued. “You will see what happens."
The prosecutor’s office also accused the white supremacist of saying, “You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kind of people. You will see what happens.”
Police arrested the fanatic, but there was no sign of embarrassment on his face; instead, he asked if he was actually going to jail.
“I guess I am going to jail for disorderly conduct. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman because their back was to me and they had something covering their head,” Rhodes reportedly said.
He was charged with assault, unlawful imprisonment, menacing and harassment. He could face up to four years in prison, if convicted.
As for Khan, she is naturally disturbed and the prosecutor’s office said she suffered “substantial pain” and redness in her right leg.
Incidents of anti-Muslim bigotry are certainly not new, but they are on an upswing with the former reality TV star’s presidency.
Since Trump’s win, every day is a daunting day for American-Muslims, especially for the women who wear hijab. One can only hope now that Trump’s America will be inclusive of Muslims and their rights.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Ginnette Riquelme