A Jamaica man was indicted by a Queens grand jury for random attacks on Muslims in June and July.
Naved Durrni, 30, of 106th Street, was arraigned Friday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Toni Cimino on an eight-count indictment charging him with robbery, assault as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and criminal possession of a weapon, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.
In three separate incidents, Durrni allegedly pursued people on the street he believed were Muslim, struck them and yelled anti-Muslim views.
According to the charges, on June 20, at around 9:15 p.m., Durrni encountered a man and woman walking near Liberty Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard. He approached the 31-year-old man and allegedly struck him without provocation and continued his attack by pulling on the 24-year-old woman’s hijab.
He then chased the pair when they tried to get away from him by crossing the street. Durrni also allegedly grabbed and ran away with a box that the woman was carrying. During this attack, Durrni allegedly shouted anti-Muslim slurs including “Muhammad was a liar.”
About an hour later, Katz said Durrni encountered another couple walking on Inwood Street and began to follow them. Again, without cause, the defendant allegedly began to yell anti-Muslim sentiments, including “Muhammad was a liar.”
Then Durrni allegedly punched the 56-year-old woman in the face and head. The victim sustained a fractured nose as a result of the attack and had to be treated at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.
On Sunday, July 25, according to the charges, Durrni was in front of 94-06 Sutphin Blvd. at around 6:30 in the evening when he allegedly bumped a 38-year-old woman into the street. The victim in this attack was wearing traditional Muslim clothing.
In addition to shouting “Muhammad was a liar,” Durrni yelled “Jesus tells the truth.” When the woman tried to call 911 on her cell phone, Durrni is alleged to have pulled out a knife and pointed it at the woman in a threatening manner before fleeing the scene.
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.
“As alleged, the defendant was motivated by his own biases and prejudices when he followed and struck four different victims whom he believed were Muslims,” Katz said. “This kind of hateful behavior will not be tolerated in Queens, the most diverse county in the country. The defendant now faces justice in our courts for his alleged actions.”
Justice Cimino ordered the defendant to return to court on Jan. 24. Durrni faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.