A Jamaica man faces hate crimes charges for three separate and random attacks on people he believed were Muslim, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
Naved Durrni, 30, of 106th Avenue, was arraigned Wednesday, July 28, before Queens Criminal Court Judge Edwin Novillo on a complaint charging him with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, assault in the third degree as a hate crime, menacing in the second degree as a hate crime and aggravated harassment in the second degree.
Durrni allegedly pursued, struck and yelled anti-Muslim sentiments at the victims he encountered on the street over the last few weeks.
He turned himself in at the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica Tuesday, July 27, after seeing images of himself on newscasts about the investigation by the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force.
According to the charges, on June 20 around 9:15 p.m., Durrni encountered a man and woman walking in the vicinity of Liberty Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard. Without provocation, Durrni began to follow the pair and yelled out anti-Muslim slurs, saying, “Mohammad was a liar.”
At one point, Durrni allegedly pulled on the 24-year-old woman’s hijab, telling her to take it off. When she didn’t comply, Durrni allegedly struck her on the arm and hit the 31-year-old man in the back.
About an hour later, Katz said Durrni came across another couple walking along Inwood Street in Jamaica and began to follow them. Again, without cause, Durrni allegedly began ranting anti-Muslim statements saying that “Mohammad was a liar.”
Durrni allegedly punched the 56-year-old woman in the face and head, according to the charges. The victim sustained a fractured nose as a result of the attack and had to be treated at Jamaica Hospital.
On Sunday, July 25, according to the charges, Durrni was in front of 94-06 Sutphin Blvd. around 6:30 p.m., when he allegedly bumped a 38-year-old woman wearing traditional Muslim clothing into the street. The defendant yelled “Mohammad was a liar” and “Jesus tells the truth.”
When the victim attempted to call 911 on her cellphone, Durrni allegedly pulled out a knife, pointed it at the woman in a threatening manner before fleeing the area.
“As alleged, the defendant attacked and intimidated individuals because of their beliefs,” Katz said. “That type of hate will not be tolerated in Queens County, where our diversity is our greatest strength.”
Judge Novillo set Durrni’s next court date for Aug. 17. If convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison.