While Americans opposed of the Muslim refugee resettlement program are accused of “Islamophobia”, a Muslim man has been charged for making “death threats with racist and homophobic language.”
A former student of the State University of New York at Potsdam, Amjad Hussain, 23, of Elmira, was indicted Monday, September 19, in St. Lawrence County Court on charges of death threats he made to a professor at SUNY.
Hussain pleaded “not guilty” to two felony charges of aggravated harassment as a hate crime and one count of criminal solicitation.
Hussain was arrested in November 2015 for sending two messages to the professor’s office in April of 2015 that included death threats to the professor and his family, along with racist and homophobic language and pictures, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The text of the note, a photo of which was obtained by the Times, reads: “Death to Homosexual Niggers. BURN IN HELL NIGGER FAGGOT (We will help you and your dirty nigger family get there soon). WHITE POWER.” The text was accompanied by a picture of a noose.
After his arrest, Hussain reportedly asked another person to deliver a third threatening note to the professor.
After the most recent indictment, Hussain is currently free on probation, with an order to not contact the victim. He is scheduled to next appear in court on October 11 at noon. If convicted, he faces up to four years in state prison for each felony count.
“Nobody should be made to feel unsafe or subject to harassment in their workplace, least of all our state’s hardworking, dedicated teachers,” Schneiderman said in a news release. “This indictment sends the message, loud and clear, that racist and homophobic threats will be treated with the utmost concern, and those responsible for such harassment will be held accountable.”
But for now, he’s out free.
When the threats were first made in April 2015, officials did not know the identity of the person behind the threatening notes to the African American professor, and students protested in outrage against the threats with demonstrations and marches, along with posting signs in campus buildings saying, “Stop the hate.”
In one march, about 200 to 300 SUNY Potsdam students and faculty participated, carrying signs and chanting “Stop the Hate” and “Black lives matter” while they marched downtown.
College President Dr. Kristin Esterberg said she was outraged, and this would not be tolerated on the campus. In an interview, she stated that “a threat on any one of our community — on any one of our Potsdam family — affects all of us and we will do whatever we need to do to keep all of our family members safe and to make sure that we all stand up for our diverse community.”
At that time, they didn’t know who was actually responsible.
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