Muslim Student Injured in Hit-and-Run at Stanford, Police Investigating as Hate Crime

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Stanford University campus

Police are investigating the report of a hit-and-run that injured an Arab Muslim student at Stanford University, a case which the California Highway Patrol and Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office have determined to be a hate crime.

Abdulwahab Omira experienced non-life-threatening injuries from the incident, which occurred at Stanford’s Palo Alto, Calif., campus before 2 p.m. on Friday, according to a school news advisory.

A follow-up advisory issued Saturday includes a report by Omira, saying that the driver of a black SUV made eye contact with him, accelerated and struck him, and then drove away while shouting “F*** you and your people,” out his window. Omira described the suspect as a White male in his mid-20s with dirty-blond hair and a short beard. Omira said in a statement later that the driver had previously shown animosity toward his community.

The law enforcement agencies investigating the crime have not announced an arrest or released a suspect’s name as of Monday morning. Omira is listed as a computer science undergraduate student and has been identified as a Syrian refugee by friends and local media, reports The Washington Post.

“As I lay in my hospital bed, grappling with a reality I had never imagined, I reflect on the importance of spreading love, kindness, and compassion in a world that seems to be steadily succumbing to hatred and prejudice,” Omira said in a statement. “This ordeal has solidified my resolve to advocate for love, understanding, and inclusivity. I implore everyone reading this: let us collectively denounce hatred, bigotry and violence. Let us take the time to understand one another, to celebrate our diversity, and to stand united against the forces that seek to divide us.”

Stanford President Richard Saller, PhD, and Provost Jenny Martinez, JD, released a joint statement Friday, notifying the campus community that the university will continue working with law enforcement to provide safety and security.

“We are profoundly disturbed to hear this report of potentially hate-based physical violence on our campus,” they said. “Violence on our campus is unacceptable. Hate-based violence is morally reprehensible, and we condemn it in the strongest terms. We want to express our deep concern for the student who was injured and for all affected by this incident.”