While walking around Huntington Beach, California, with his brother-in-law, Karam Jarrah, 17, was violently attacked. Karam says both him and his brother-in-law, Asem Dghem, had been speaking Arabic right before the attack.
Jarrah wondered the following on why they were the victims of an attack like this:
“Was it like a racial issue? Is it because we were speaking Arabic or it can be like just the way we look?”
It turns out that one person in the group of attackers was actually a police officer from Illinois. Arthur Roman, the cop, and his brother Martin Roman, along with Jessica Roman (Martin’s wife) had apparently approached the teens and became extremely verbal. Martin, the cops brother, is said to have pulled out a knife soon after.
This is how Jarrah recounts the verbal accosting that took place:
“He was like, ‘What’s up ‘Obamabam?’ I don’t even know what that means. So I said, ‘What?’ and he said, ‘What’s up ‘Obamabam?’ He said it like he was mad.”
Despite the verbal barrage of insults, the brothers remained calm and actually tried to be polite. This wasn’t their first rodeo, after all. Turns out they had gone through other Islamophobia in recent months as well.
Dghem explains how he tried to simmer down the situation, based on their prior experiences:
“I came back very, very nicely, because we have faced this type of situation before.”
But this time turned out differently. The two say that Martin, upon pulling out his knife, proceeded to stab Jarrah twice. Jarrah describes the moment he realized how bad his stabbing wounds were:
“When I stood up, it was just like a fountain squirting blood, like blood everywhere.”
Jarrah was then rushed to the hospital to be treated for the knifing incident.
Meanwhile, the brothers and the wife took off. They were eventually found and arrested.
The family of Jarrah was not actually surprised that such an attack like this had gone down, in light of the political climate currently going on in the United States, and all the hysteria attached to it. The surprising part of the whole thing, was that an actual cop was involved.
Dghem spoke about the hypocritical nature of an actual police officer being involved in such a senseless, stupid act of violence:
“They have to actually protect us, not stab us. He’s a police officer. He’s supposed to be role model.”
Last year the number of hate crimes against Muslims actually tripled. Many of these attacks occurred after presidential candidate, and front runner for the Republican Party, Donald Trump, made inflammatory statements regarding how America should shut it’s borders to prevent Muslims from temporarily coming through.
Despite what appears as obvious, officers have yet to officially declare the attacks as race motivated.