A Florida man now faces jail time after being indicted Monday on hate crime charges after allegedly attacking a Muslim store owner in Queens after saying “I kill Muslims.”
Piro Kolvani, 55, of Jacksonville, Florida was arraigned in Queens County Supreme Court on a four-count indictment on charges of third-degree assault as a hate crime, third-degree assault, second-degree aggravated harassment and second-degree harassment.
On Dec. 5 Kolvani entered the Fatima Food Mart on 21st Avenue in Astoria, which is owned by Sarker Haque, and began acting strangely, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. Haque started to ask Kolvani a question when he then blurted out “I kill Muslims” and began to hit Haque in the face.
Haque attempted to get up after being attacked to call 911, but Kolvani attacked again, according to the New York Post. Customers who walked in reportedly helped Haque, held onto Kolvani and also called for help.
Haque was taken to a nearby hospital with a cut to his lip as well as bruising and swelling on the left side of his face, authorities said.
“The defendant is accused of striking a Muslim man in an unprovoked attacked early last month after proclaiming he ‘kills Muslims,’” Brown said. “This kind of ignorance and intolerance is unacceptable.”
Kolvani was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court on Feb. 11. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.