Muslim Woman Describes Assault, Harassment in a Boston Suburb

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.”

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

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.”