NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Massachusetts man accused of going on an anti-Muslim tirade at John F. Kennedy airport earlier this year is expected to appear in court Thursday.
Police say Robin Rhodes, of Worcester, attacked Muslim employee Rabeeya Khan, who wears a hijab, at the Delta Sky Lounge in late January.
Prosecutors say Rhodes allegedly came up to the door of Khan’s office while he was waiting for a flight and said: “Are you [expletive] sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?” He then allegedly punched the door, which hit the back of Khan’s chair.
Khan asked Rhodes what she did to him, prosecutors said. He replied, “You did nothing but I am going to kick your [expletive] ass,” prosecutors said.
Rhodes then allegedly kicked Khan in the right leg, prosecutors said. Khan moved to a corner of the office in an effort to get away, but Rhodes allegedly kicked in the door, stepped into the office and blocked Khan from leaving, prosecutors said.
Someone else came over to the office and tried to calm Rhodes down, and at that point, he moved away from the door, prosecutors said. Khan ran out of the office to the front desk of the lounge, prosecutors said.
But Rhodes allegedly followed her, got onto his knees, and bowed down in a mockery of a Muslim praying, prosecutors said. He allegedly shouted: “[Expletive] Islam, [expletive] ISIS, Trump is here now. He will get rid of all of you. You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kind of people. You will see what happens.”
Khan suffered substantial pain and redness in her right leg and was left in fear and alarm, prosecutors said.
Following the attack, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed new legislation that would make attacking airport workers a Class D felony, punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Rhodes is being charged with assault and harassment as part of a hate crime.
If convicted, Rhodes could face up to four years in prison.