By Mahita Gajanan
September 15, 2016

New York police are no longer investigating the attack in which a Muslim woman’s clothing was set on fire as a hate crime, authorities said Wednesday.

Police ruled out a hate crime after suspects in the case were linked to similar assaults on other non-Muslims in New York.

The hijab-wearing woman was standing outside a Valentino store on Fifth Avenue Saturday when she felt heat on her left side and noticed her blouse was on fire. She patted out the flames and looked up to see a man standing near her with a lighter. The flame reportedly left a “quarter-sized hole” in her blouse, according to the NYPD. The department initially investigated the incident as a potential hate crime.

Upon further investigation, police found that at least three other women were threatened with fire by the same suspects on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The three other women were not wearing clothing that would identify them as Muslim, police said.

“The motivation for these crimes is not considered to be ‘bias-related’ at this time,” police said.

Police obtained surveillance footage of the suspect. No arrests have been made in the case.


Write to Mahita Gajanan at


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