Man arrested in attack on hijab-wearing JFK airport employee

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Jan. 27, 2017 at 6:51 AM
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Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said a Massachusetts man was charged with hate crimes for allegedly berating and kicking a Muslim worker at John F. Kennedy International Airport while saying President Donald Trump will "get rid of all of you."

Robin A. Rhodes, 57, of Worchester, faces charges of assault, aggravated harassment, unlawful imprisonment, menacing and harassment -- all as hate crimes -- for attacking Delta employee Rabeeya Khan, who wears a hijab, at JFK's Delta Sky Lounge on Wednesday night, Brown said in a statement Thursday.

Brown gave this account of the incident:

It started when Rhodes walked up to Khan, who was sitting in her office.

said the incident -- in which Rhodes is accused of making reference to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, Daesh and ISIL -- started when Rhodes walked up to Khan, who was sitting in her office.

'"Are you [expletive] sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?"' he asked her.

Rhodes then punched the door, which hit the back of Khan's chair, and when Khan asked Rhodes what she did to him, Rhodes said, '"You did nothing but I am going to kick your [expletive]."'

Rhodes then kicked Khan in the right leg and she attempted to escape by moving into a corner office. Rhodes then kicked the door open, stepped into the office and prevented her from leaving.

When someone attempted to calm down Rhodes, he moved away from the door and Khan ran out of the office and to the front desk of the lounge.

During the tirade, Rhodes made reference to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, Daesh and ISIL

"It is alleged, however, that Rhodes followed her and got down on his knees and began to bow down in imitation of a Muslim praying and shouted, '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 kind of people. You will see what happens,'" Brown said.

When he was arrested, Rhodes told police, "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."

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