New video of man who set Muslim woman on fire in Midtown

Lucy Yang Image
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
New video of suspect wanted for allegedly lighting Muslim woman on fire
Surveillance video

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- New video (in player above) has been released of a possible suspect in the attack of a 35-year-old woman from Scotland who was wearing traditional Muslim garb.

"It's scary. I don't look like a Muslim so it's OK, but I worry about people who want to practice their faith openly," said Reshama Shaikh, a resident.

Shaikh does not wear traditional Muslim covering, but the most recent attack on a Muslim tourist has left her shaking.

"I'm thinking about my nieces and nephews growing up Muslim and will have to hide the fact that they are just to be safe in the city," Shaikh said.

Lucy Yang has more from Midtown.

9 p.m. Saturday, police report a tourist from Scotland was strolling along Fifth Avenue when she noticed her blouse was on fire.

She told detectives a man was standing next to her with a lighter in his hand. He was seen walking away turning east on 54th Street.

The victim, wearing traditional Muslim attire at the time, said she was able put out the fire on her sleeve to avoid injury.

Eyewitness News is told there was singe mark about the size of a quarter on her shirt. According to the police report, the frightening encounter happened outside the Valentino designer store on Fifth Avenue between 55th and 54th streets.

"When people judge us about a hajib it's not fair," said Khloud Khaleel, a tourist from Saudi Arabia.

"Tourists are not involved in what's happening in the world. You have to consider that," said Hadif Alteneiji, a tourist from Dubai.

The alarming incident is now being handled by the Hate Crime Task Force.

The NYPD hoping this surveillance video will help them find the dangerous attacker before someone else is set ablaze.

Response has been swift and wide. The Council on American Islamic relations in New York issued this statement, "We are clearly seeing a spike in attacks on individual Muslims and Islamic institutions in New York and around the country, which should be of concern to all Americans."

And from the New York Anti-Defamation League: "These incidents have left New York's Muslim community feeling vulnerable. We stand with them"

"I think it's time to stop discrimination against Muslims because Islam means peace," said Noel Handal, a tourist from Wisconsin.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to call 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).