NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The search continues for a man who police say attacked a Muslim MTA employee earlier this week at Grand Central Terminal.
Police released a sketch of the suspect on Tuesday compiled from a victim description. Soha Salama said she had a good look at the man who assaulted and taunted her on Monday.
“He pushed me down the stairs then he called me a terrorist, I shouldn’t work here, go back to your country,” she said.
Salama was wearing her MTA uniform as well as her hijab as she headed to work on the 7 train when she says the man started calling her names. She switched cars and got off the train, but he followed her.
“I was just running for my life, running to get the police or anyone to protect me,” she said.
As she headed towards a staircase, police said the man continued to make anti-Muslim statements and then pushed Salama down.
The incident happened during a busy Monday morning commute. Salama says no one said anything to the aggressor or stopped to help when she fell down, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported.
Salama twisted her knee and suffered a swollen ankle and was taken to the hospital for treatment.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement following the incident, saying in part: “The work of the Hate Crimes Task Force has never been more urgent and we will continue to crack down on this type of criminal behavior. I wish a speedy recovery for the victim, and want to let her know we are seeking justice for her and for all New Yorkers.”
In a separate incident, Officer Aml Elsokary was off-duty and unarmed over the weekend when police said she was assaulted and called “ISIS” in Bayridge, Brooklyn.
She vowed to protect the women who wear their religion outwardly.
“Don’t be scared cause you have a sister who is on this team fighting for you as well,” she said.
And last week, another young woman said she was assaulted on a 6 train in Brooklyn when she says three men tried to rip off her hijab.
“They were surrounding me from behind and they were like, ‘Oh look, it’s an f-ing terrorist,” said Yasmin Seweid.
Saba Ahmed is a practicing Muslim and says she is saddened by the current climate.
“There are bad people doing bad things, but there are good people not saying anything and saying this is wrong and that’s what’s wrong with our society,” she said.
Police are asking those who may experience a hate crime to act by filing a report and both the mayor the Council on American Islamic Relations are asking the public to support Muslim members of the community.
Meanwhile, as Salama recovers and police continue their search for the suspect, she says she will combat this behavior the best way she knows how.
“I will continue loving and caring for everybody,” she said. “I will continue greeting everybody, have a nice day, every day.”
The suspect in her case was described by police as a Hispanic man between the ages of 25 and 35, 5’.9″ to 6′ tall and weighing 150 to 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a dark-colored jacket and a black knitted winter hat.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782), visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.