Filmmaker Usama Alshaibi Says He Was Beaten in Anti-Arab attack

by

46 comments

alshaibi.jpg

Filmmaker Usama Alshaibi was claims to have been beaten in an anti-Arab attack Saturday night in Fairfield, Iowa, where he moved with his wife Kristie last summer after 16 years in Chicago.

Alshaibi had posted a response video on Friday to the viral Hate Comes to Orange County video, which depicts protesters threatening Muslim families and children with violence. Alshaibi's response essentially said "it’s our country too."

The Baghdad-born, Iowa-bred Alshaibi is in progress on the Kartemquin Films documentary American Arab, about his own and other Arabs' experience growing up in the U.S. with dual identities.

Walking home alone after dinner with a friend late Saturday, Alshaibi happened upon a house party. He writes in a statement (reprinted with permission):

"I spoke with a girl standing outside the house where I heard the sounds. I asked her 'where’s the party?' She said 'The party’s upstairs.'

The door was open. I went into the house and up the stairs. As I entered someone asked me who I was. I told them my name — Usama. At that point I was hit by someone in the sides and the face. My glasses were knocked off my face. Someone said 'How dare you come in here, you sand nigger. Fucking Usama Bin Laden, you sand nigger.' Four young men began beating me as I tried to leave. I told them to please stop and that I was leaving. I ended up on the ground outside the house where they continued to kick me in the face repeatedly, and kept calling me 'sand nigger.' I tried to cover my face with my arms to block the blows.

Afterward, with my face and eyes covered in blood and having difficulty seeing without my glasses, I made my way to the parking lot of Family Video at Burlington and 9th. I called my friend Manuel who came to find me...

I am the victim of a hate crime and I would like this case to be treated accordingly."

Update: donations for Alshaibi's medical and legal expenses can be made here.


Update 2: Fairfield Police Chief Julie Harvey says her department is treating it as a hate crime, according to the Associated Press.


"Is it a hate crime? Yeah, by what they were calling him," she said. "We just don't have an idea of where the incident took place at. It's a high rental district. There's a lot of people in and out, in and out. We just got to locate the house and then go from there."

Update 3: Tim Dille, attorney for Jefferson County, in which Fairfield is located, confirmed reports Tuesday afternoon that after a door-to-door canvas of the area, police had identified the house where the attack occurred, and that police and investigators from the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigations were questioning witnesses.

"We're interviewing people who were there and trying to get as much information as we can to determine whether or not charges should be filed, and what charges should be filed," Dille said in a phone interview. "It's being investigated as an assault. If it's determined that an assault has occurred, the Iowa Code has provisions for a hate crime enhancement, and if it's determined that's appropriate, we will charge [suspects] with that."

Dille said no suspects had yet been identified. "We're just trying to determine who was involved, what happened, and the exact set of circumstances that did occur," he said.

Comments (46)

Showing 1-25 of 46

 

Comments are closed.