Muslim Woman Describes Assault, Harassment near Malden Center

The victim of an apparent hate crime motivated by the Boston Marathon attacks said she loves Boston's diversity, even if the episode left her shaken Wednesday.

A Palestinian woman said she was assaulted and aggressively harassed while walking with her infant daughter and friend near Malden Center late Wednesday morning, in an apparent hate crime motivated by Monday's attack at the Boston Marathon.

Malden resident Heba Abolaban said she and her friend, both wearing hijabs, were walking with their children on Commercial Street when a man forcefully punched her left shoulder and began shouting at them.

“He was screaming 'F___ you Muslims! You are terrorists! I hate you! You are involved in the Boston explosions! F___ you!'” Abolaban remembered. “Oh my lord, I was extremely shocked.”

She said the man – described as a white male in his thirties wearing dark sunglasses – kept shouting and walking toward her as she backed away.

“I did not say anything to him,” she said. “Not even that we aren't terrorists...he was so aggressive.”

After about two minutes, Abolaban said the man continued his brisk walk toward Malden Center. Shaken, Abolaban called her husband in tears, and then 911.

“The police came and were so kind and helpful,” she said, though no suspects were arrested in the incident.


I love Boston and its people”

Abolaban and her husband, Ahmad Almujahed, are doctors who came to the United States from Syria to develop their specialties.

Last year, she did her six month observership at Mass General Hospital in the Clinical Genetics Department. While she was the only woman on staff to wear the Islamic hijab, she said she never felt singled out by her peers.

“I really do love the beautiful diversity of Boston (and its) people,” she said. “What happened to me yesterday saddened me a lot.”

Abolaban described Islam as a “religion of peace,” noting she spent the day before the attack handing out hot meals with her mosque.

“Our [Mosque] cooked food for the homeless regardless of their religion, ethnicity or race,” she said.

“Even if a Muslim man was the one behind the Boston Marathon blasts, he does not represent our beautiful and peaceful religion,” she later added.


Mayor: City will “not tolerate this type of behavior.”

She noted that she also appreciated a phone call from Mayor Gary Christenson, who reached out to the family after the police report was filed.

“I am simply outraged that such an act has occurred in Malden, a community that takes pride in its diversity and embraces people of all cultures and backgrounds,” Christenson wrote in an e-mail when asked for comment. “I have been in contact with Heba and am relieved that she and her child were not seriously injured.

“Police Chief Kevin Molis and members of his department responded quickly and are diligently proceeding with the investigation to find who was responsible for this heinous act.

“In the meantime, I have assured Heba and her family that Malden does not tolerate this type of behavior and that the acts of one despicable individual will not stop our community from moving forward together.”

mg April 24, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Wrong, try again.
Robin H. Farren April 24, 2013 at 09:06 PM
I was asking because I was hoping that not all of the crazies on this thread live in Malden. Happily, they don't. Not that I wish them on some other poor unsuspecting citizens of the US, it is just that I would prefer these raving hate-mongers weren't living in my city. At least until they get it together. I find Malden to be a delightful mix of ethnicities, races, religions, and culturally different people. I love it. I know there are always some bigots in the woodwork, but this thread is unleashing an alarming number. So I am happy they are spread around the nation, and not all here in Malden.
Gene Pinkham April 24, 2013 at 09:07 PM
The Crusades were Western Civilization's response to 300 years of Jihad.
Bonnie Parker April 24, 2013 at 09:24 PM
I personally don't believe the illiterate rantings of people who use 'quotation marks' for 'emphasis.' Oh, or racist morons. Them either.
Bonnie Parker April 24, 2013 at 09:26 PM
I'm gonna guess no, and that the orderlies are gonna be annoyed with her and everyone in the looney bin she does live in is gonna get their internet taken away because of one bad apple.
Bonnie Parker April 24, 2013 at 09:37 PM
paul surette April 24, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Everyone, I'd like to welcome Robin to Utopia....er, um, I meant Malden. Welcome to Dunkin' Donuts where the servers BARELY speak English. Most times, the servers have more glaze in their eyes than on the donuts. Ask them for a bagel, and they will gladly give you a muffin. Want a jelly stick? Coffee coming right up! Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about !
elizabeth mccarney April 25, 2013 at 12:01 AM
right you are gene!! @robin and bonnie i live in 'america' and it takes 2 liberal loons like yourself to hurl insults at people and you are the very reason we as a country keep getting attacked by these 'muslim lowlifes'!!! Your insanity is killing our country!
mg April 25, 2013 at 12:46 AM
Yet, you never see good ol' red-blooded Americans behind the counter. No, those jobs are "beneath" us, right?
Robin H. Farren April 25, 2013 at 03:08 AM
Hi Paul. When your parents or grandparents came to this country, they were undoubtedly met by some with bigotry, ignorance and cruelty. Others probably greeted them with kindness, understanding, and open arms. For people to leave their country, everything & everyone they know & go to a new land where they don't know the language, customs, or the lay of the land, is very daring & brave. I know people who were doctors or lawyers in their native country, but they came here and had to start at entry level jobs because they needed additional degrees, or their English wasn't quite good enough yet. They are brave, hardworking people who came here to make a better life for their families... just like your ancestors. They probably speak 2 or 3 or 4 languages in addition to English. How many languages do you speak? When my father came here from Belfast, his clothes were weird, he spoke English, but he had a thick brogue, and they didn't know the customs. Some jerks made fun of him and his brothers, but most people were nice. I'm sure some people made fun of your ancestors too. They would be ashamed of you if they could hear how disrespectful you are being to these hardworking people who are making an honest wage. God forbid if you have to repeat yourself, or if someone makes a mistake. Big inconvenience to you. Here they are probably working 2 jobs to make ends meet. Perhaps if you thought of them as your grandmother or grandfather, you would be a little more understanding.
Robin H. Farren April 25, 2013 at 03:19 AM
Hi Elizabeth. I don't think I have insulted anyone. You've pretty much said that you dislike all people of a certain religion. Since you seem to be proud of that stance, I don't see how it could be considered an insult to point out that by definition, that is prejudice & bigoted. And you certainly don't know my politics. If your definition of Conservatives are people who like strange men hitting women with babies, and Liberals are people who frown on that, then I guess I'm a social liberal... along with the entire legal system. I think only a man who is a bully and a coward would attack a woman with a baby. I don't know what his political leanings are, but his social leanings are certainly unacceptable. If you think his actions were so great, why don't you reach out to him, and he can hit you instead.
mg April 25, 2013 at 03:50 AM
That's what I thought.
paul surette April 25, 2013 at 11:06 AM
My point is, ROBIN...........if I own a business where my employees have to be able to communicate with my customers, then the employees N-E-E-D to be able to speak E-N-G-L-I-S-H! Last I checked, this is NOT the United States of Brazil....nor is it the United States of Mexico, or the United States of Haiti. Jesus Christ. It's the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, where ENGLISH is the PRIMARY language. Do you understand THAT, or do I need to break out the coloring book with the pop-up pictures? I am getting fed up with the liberal-left loonies who call others racist or bigots for expecting someone to, I don't know.....speak ENGLISH in an English-speaking country. And your sugar-coating of someone 'probably working 2 jobs to make ends meet'....my question is...........WHO CARES? Seriously? I've worked two jobs before, and I certainly didn't go around asking people to pack their bags, so that I could take them on a guilt trip. God help us if people like you, Robin, are our future!
Bonnie Parker April 25, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Huh, my order if always fine. Perhaps they just don't like you?
Bonnie Parker April 25, 2013 at 11:39 AM
elizabeth, your "arguments" (note the correct use of quotation marks to convey irony) would carry slightly more weight if you'd learn to write in English. Ask one of the orderlies to help you.
Bonnie Parker April 25, 2013 at 11:42 AM
Ah, now there's the "I'm not a racist, I just don't like brown people" Paul we all know and... well, know.
dsmith April 25, 2013 at 09:37 PM
hmmmm. you say that the islam faith is a "religion of peace." nope. it is not. you don't find folks of other religions (like buddhism, shintoism, etc.) bombing innocents all over the world. that "characteristic" belongs almost 100% to the male muslims. what is it within the quran that makes many islamic men do such evil things? this question may never be answered .... not in our lifetimes that is ....! also, the islamic faith that requires women to wear the hijab really pollutes the american society. having to wear such garb really does restrict islamic women and also makes said women "responsible" for men's behavior. thus, they cover up! sick.
Chris Caesar April 26, 2013 at 04:01 AM
That's not true whatsoever: http://www.juancole.com/2013/04/terrorism-other-religions.html "As for religious terrorism, that too is universal. Admittedly, some groups deploy terrorism as a tactic more at some times than others. ... Or there was the cold-blooded bombing of the Ajmer shrine in India by Bhavesh Patel and a gang of Hindu nationalists. Chillingly, they were disturbed when a second bomb they had set did not go off, so that they did not wreak as much havoc as they would have liked. ... Buddhists have committed a lot of terrorism and other violence as well. Many in the Zen orders in Japan supported militarism in the first half of the twentieth century, for which their leaders later apologized. And, you had Inoue Shiro’s assassination campaign in 1930s Japan. Nowadays militant Buddhist monks in Burma/ Myanmar are urging on an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya. As for Christianity, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda initiated hostilities that displaced two million people. Although it is an African cult, it is Christian in origin and the result of Western Christian missionaries preaching in Africa. If Saudi Wahhabi preachers can be in part blamed for the Taliban, why do Christian missionaries skate when we consider the blowback from their pupils? Despite the very large number of European Muslims, in 2007-2009 less than 1 percent of terrorist acts in that continent were committed by people from that community."
Chris Caesar April 26, 2013 at 04:02 AM
Note there are more examples in the link, but they wouldn't fit in our comment limit for the site.
mg April 26, 2013 at 04:24 AM
A hijab pollutes American society? Seriously? How do you feel about yarmulkes?
Robin H. Farren April 26, 2013 at 03:29 PM
I'm happy that there was an outpouring of comments criticizing the assault on Ms. Abolaban at the beginning of this thread. I am happy to live in Malden, and find that the mix here is delightfully diverse. I'm proud that my kids are growing up with friends from a multitude of different cultures, religions, races and ethnicities. I'm out now, because the most recent entries have been mostly from hate-mongers and then people countering them. Too negative and dirty to wallow in. Peace everyone!
Nicolas Gabriel Vega-Frey April 26, 2013 at 04:15 PM
@ Lorraine Grabionowski please don't get the centrist/corporatist/surveillancestatesupporter obama confused with the left. If you disagree with his policies then blame him for what he is: center-right. Also, someone who makes accusations/assumptions of "loitering trash living on gov't handouts" as if those people had anything to do with the attack on this woman, is not a leftist
Gene Pinkham April 29, 2013 at 07:16 PM
What ever happened to "ALLEGED"?
Chris Caesar April 29, 2013 at 08:59 PM
No one has been named a suspect in this case. I appreciate your obsession with proving this a hoax though, nothing sketchily bigoted about that.
Bonnie Parker April 29, 2013 at 09:04 PM
"Prove" implies a much better effort than Gene has made. I'd have gone with "insinuate."
Gene Pinkham May 03, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Chris, a friend of mine spent two years in Riker's Island waiting for his trial on a Rape Charge that got dropped when her story was torn apart by the detective that investigated it. So don't get on your PC High Horse with me. He was on WRKO and CNN. Where does he go to get his reputation back let alone a job?
Chris Caesar May 03, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Do you see a suspect named in the article, Gene? You don't ascribe "alleged" to victims of crimes, but the suspects. Pretty simple.
Gene Pinkham May 03, 2013 at 05:42 PM
It should read "A Muslim Woman was "allegedly" assaulted". I wrote for a real newspaper for 12 years.
Gene Pinkham May 03, 2013 at 05:49 PM
All we have so far is an...wait for it.....ALLEGATION!
Chris Caesar May 04, 2013 at 01:36 AM
Yes Gene, so have I. You are wrong: http://www.poynter.org/archived/ask-dr-ink/13827/on-alleged-victims/


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