MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Muslim advocacy group is calling for hate crime charges to be added after a woman was attacked at a local restaurant. Asma Jama suffered deep cuts to her mouth, chin, and eyebrow.
Jodie Burchard-Risch is accused of hitting her in the face with a beer mug after yelling at her to speak English. The attack happened a week ago at the Applebee’s in Coon Rapids.
Less than 24 hours after Jama spoke publicly about being attacked in front of her cousins and their kids at Applebee’s in Coon Rapids, the GoFundMe site set up for raise money for medical expenses surpassed the $5,000 goal.
“It just restores your faith in humanity,” Jama said.
People who donated offered words of encouragement. John said, “I am astounded at people’s hatred and violence.” Carson wrote “I hope that someday you can feel safe here again,” and Jennifer: “Minnesotans are better people than this.”
“One bad person doing a bad thing doesn’t mean all Minnesotans are bad,” Jama said.
Burchard-Risch is charged with felony assault. Jama said the woman overheard her speaking her native Swahili, and then told her they should be speaking English, before striking her in the face with a beer mug. The glass shattered leaving cuts to her mouth, chin and eyebrow, requiring 17 stitches.
“I think we were all horrified,” Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of The Council on American-Islamic Relations said.
CAIR wants hate crime charges added.
“It’s important that in this case it’s not just an assault, it’s someone who’s being targeted for the base of, for their faith, what she look like and also how she was interacting with her family members,” Hussein said.
That is what Jama wants, and what she says she needs to move forward.
“If I don’t go forward and say it is a hate crime someone else will suffer the consequences probably more than me,” Jama said.
The Anoka County Attorney’s Office said prosecutors are still working on the case. They’re waiting for medical reports and say they could file additional charges.