A Tennessee man, who reportedly harassed teenage Muslim girls who were wearing hijab and attacked their father, has been indicted for a hate crime.
Christopher Beckham, 32, faces charges for violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.)
The alleged attack took place in Oct. 2017, when Beckham harassed the girls who were getting off their school bus in Nashville, Tennessee.
According to federal records, the 32-year-old yelled “Go back to your country” and “Allahu Akbar” before swinging a knife at the girls’ father and punching him. An affidavit further claimed Beckham threatened the girls to beat them up.
Their father, Abdull Ali, who was passing through the area in his taxi stopped at the venue as he saw his girls being attacked by the man. Beckham then confronted Ali, hurled racial slurs at him and pulled out a knife from his pocket.
Police arrived at the scene and arrested Beckham, however, he claimed he was the victim. He reportedly told authorities the girls were breaking cars, falsely accused the girls of hitting him and shouting “Allahu Akbar.”
However, none of the claims turned out to be true.
"While the defendant was in the patrol car, the arresting officer heard the defendant continue to make racist comments about the victims. The defendant threatened he was going to go back and kill Mr. Ali and his family when he got out of jail,” said a police report.
If convicted, Beckham could face up to ten years in prison on charges of hate crime and an additional five years for lying to the F.B.I.
Banner / Thumbnail : Metropolitan Nashville Police Department