Massachusetts man charged with hate crime after assaulting Muslim Delta employee at JFK Airport

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A man from Massachusetts has been charged with a hate crime after he reportedly attacked a Muslim employee on Wednesday night at John F. Kennedy Airport.

Officials say that Robin Rhodes, 57, of Worchester, was in the Delta Sky Lounge in Terminal 2 when he began threatening Delta employee Rabeeya Khan.

Khan, who was wearing a hijab, was sitting in her office in the lounge when Rhodes came to her door and stated, "Are you (expletive) sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?"

He allegedly punched her door, which then hit the back of Khan's chair. After asking Rhodes what she did to him, he replied "You did nothing but I am going to kick your (expletive)."

Khan was then kicked in the leg, and soon after managed to run to the lounge's front desk for help.

Rhodes then reportedly followed her and began to imitate a Muslim prayer while shouting "(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."

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Rhodes had just arrived from Aruba and was waiting for a connecting flight to Massachusetts.

"The bigotry and hatred that the defendant is accused of manifesting and acting upon have no place in a civilized society, especially in Queens County, the most culturally diverse county in the nation," District Attorney Brown said. "Crimes of hate will never be tolerated here and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice."

Rhodes faces up to four years in prison if convicted.

At the time of his arrest, Rhodes allegedly 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."

Rhodes was charged with assault, unlawful imprisonment, menacing and harassment as hate crimes.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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