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Parents say bully attack a hate crime

June 12, 2009 2:53:04 PM PDT
A 14-year-old boy was beat up at a school. Was it because he's a Muslim?Police say no, that it was just a bully picking on someone. But the victim's parents don't believe that. They say the bully told their son, as he was beating him up, that he hates Arabs and hates his religion.

It happened on Staten Island.

"He didn't like our religion," the victim said. "He's been threatening to beat me up."

For three weeks, the eighth grader says he's been tortured by his classmates. Another 14-year-old boy who he says beat him up after first period Thursday morning made good on his promise.

"He said, 'I'll make you fight me by hitting you, and then you will hit me back so it will be a fight,'" the boy said.

The boy says he skipped three days of school this week because he was afraid. He says his alleged bully made threats using Internet messages. But he could only hide for so long. He says his bully tracked him down the day he went back to school.

The junior high student spent the day in the hospital, surrounded by doctors and police officers. His mouth swelled up like a baseball. His father's heart broke as his son got eight painful stitches.

"He cannot eat, cannot drink, cannot talk," his father said.

That's why police arrested the alleged bully and charged him with misdemeanor assault. The hate crime unit investigated and decided it was not a hate crime. Investigators found the suspect allegedly wanted to prove he was the toughest kid in school. Police say he called his victim, a stupid Arab simply to instigate a fight, not as a motive for the attack. But the victim's father believes it was a hate crime, a crime he thought he would never experience.

"I've been 30 years in this country," he said. "All my kids born here. I never thought that would happen to me."

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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