Seham Jaber, her husband and three sons all came to the United States back in 2008 as refugees. Now residents of Albuquerque, New Mexico the devout Catholic refugee was assaulted in her apartment, because she “looked Muslim.”
The FBI is now investigating the case as a federal hate crime, according to a statement released by Albuquerque police on Friday.
Police spokesman Simon Drobik said that the incident occurred on June 5th, when a man forced his way into Jaber’s home last week. The attacker yelled obscenities about Muslims and then punched Seham in the head and stomach. The home invader then tore up her family’s citizenship papers.
The attacker also stole at least $20,000 in gold, which amounted to her family’s life savings, Jaber explained.
The attacker was wearing a mask, jeans and a yellow T-shirt.
The attack occurred just after her husband had left the couple’s Albuquerque apartment. That’s when someone rang the doorbell. Seham opened the door thinking that it was her husband, who must have forgotten something at home. Instead, she found a masked man wearing gloves who quickly began punching her in the face, and cursing at her, and shouting about Muslims.
“The irony is the individual thought the family was Muslim, and they’re actually refugees from Iraq who are Catholic,” officer Simon Drobik, of the Albuquerque Police Department explained.
The Jaber family fled Iraq six years ago, after they had been attacked by terrorists there for being Christian. Since then, they became U.S. citizens.
Now, attacked for being viewed as Muslims, they say they “never imaged” that this would happen in America.
“It’s disappointing that this still happens,” said Drobik. “These people came from a different country to get a better life in our country, and then for them to be victimized after that war-torn country, it’s pretty horrible.”
The family says they don’t know what to do now. They don’t feel safe in Iraq, nor in the United States.