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Muslim woman says attacker ripped off her hijab, ‘beat me like an animal’

MILWAUKEE — A Muslim woman attacked as she walked home from prayer at a Milwaukee mosque early Monday morning has been released from the hospital.

The woman, who does not want her identity to be shared, said a car pulled up alongside her around 6 a.m. after early morning prayers.

"I said to myself, 'I am going to die today for sure.' So he gets up from the car and told me to come here."

That man wanted only one thing: to remove the woman's hijab, or head scarf.

"He said to take my hijab, my scarf. I tried to fight him. 'Don't take my hijab,' you know? So he threw me on the floor then he beat me like an animal," said the victim.

The attacker was able to pull the scarf off. Blood stains remained on it Tuesday.

The woman said her attacker threw her to the sidewalk and then stepped down on her head repeatedly. He also used a knife to cut her jacket and her arm, she said.

"Certainly we're scared for our community members. As an Islamic community, we want to make sure our community is always safe. The initial reaction is shock," said Munjed Ahmad with the Islamic Society of Milwaukee.

Those at the Islamic Center will discuss having security patrols on nearby streets. At this point, they believe this to be a hate crime.

The victim's jacket.

"Nothing was stolen. There was no robbery. Her valuables remain with her. The only motive we can think of -- because everything stayed with her and this individual went straight for her scarf is a hate crime," said Ahmad.

Those from the community are glad the attacker didn't take the woman's life.

The victim somehow made it home. That's where she had a seizure and was taken to the hospital.

Police say they are investigating and there is no suspect in custody at this time.