Connecticut lawmaker is attacked after attending Muslim prayer service

Jun 29, 2023, 7:44 AM | Updated: 8:26 am

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut state lawmaker was attacked as she left a Muslim prayer service, and a fellow worshiper chased and held the man until police arrived, authorities said.

Rep. Mayram Khan was with her sister and her children Wednesday morning outside the XL Center, an arena in downtown Hartford, where they had attended the service, along with about 4,000 other people, marking Eid al-Adha, the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage by Muslims to Mecca.

The man made obscene remarks, grabbed Khan, hit her and threw her to the ground, said Farhan Memon, the chair of the Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. She suffered minor cuts and bruises.

Andrey Desmond, 30, of New Britain, was detained by another worshiper until police came. He was charged with assault, unlawful restraint, breach of peace and interfering with police. It isn’t yet clear whether he knew Khan was a legislator. Police said more charges could be filed.

Desmond was being held Thursday while awaiting arraignment. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney to comment on his behalf.

“We urge local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for this attack and to ensure the safety of the Connecticut Muslim community during the ongoing Eid al-Adha celebrations,” Memon said in a statement. “All too often we have seen American Muslims, or those perceived to be Muslim, targeted by hate because of their attire, race or ethnicity.”

Khan, a Democrat from Windsor, became the first Muslim member of the Connecticut House when she won a special election for the seat in March 2022. She did not immediately return phone calls and email messages Thursday.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said he was at the same prayer service and was troubled after learning of the attack and “deeply sorry for what she and her family experienced today, on what should have been a day of joy and celebration.”

Gov. Ned Lamont also offered his support.

“It is disturbing to me that this happened on a holy day meant to be marked by peaceful prayer,” Lamont said in statement.

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Connecticut lawmaker is attacked after attending Muslim prayer service