Teens attack man because he 'looked Muslim'

Man beaten by students because they thought he was Muslim
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

LAKELAND, TN (WMC) - A group of teens attacked a man because he "looked Muslim," according to investigators. However, the man attacked was not Muslim.

Shelby County Sheriff's Office arrested a 16-year-old for aggravated and simple assault stemming from the attack.

Despite the victim not having any religious affiliation with Islam, it didn't stop a group of teens from beating him.

The victim said he left Israel more than 20 years ago in order to find safety. He moved to Tennessee and made his new home at Somerset Apartments.

The man said he was attacked for the way he looked. He did not want to be identified.

"I went to do laundry and they just start calling me names," the victim said. "I just got out of the car...and they [call] me Muslim name(s)."

The attack happened Tuesday. According to the victim, a teenager assumed he was a Muslim based on his looks, and the teen started attacking him while he was trying to do laundry.

"When I came outside to tell him to go away he just jumped on me and choked me," the victim said. "[He] started punching my face and taking [me] by the neck very hard, and he tried to put me on the floor."

After the teenager started the assault, more teens jumped in and helped beat the man.

The victim was left bruised and swollen in his head as a result of the attack.

The victim said he called deputies to report the attack. The next day someone had vandalized his truck. The vandal broke the mirrors on his truck and vandalized the doors.

"I want to take care of it as soon as possible so nobody can get hurt," the victim said. "They can kill somebody."

Management of the apartment complex said the teenagers were caught on surveillance footage and they are now providing the video to deputies.

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