ASTORIA, Queens — A Florida man has been indicted on hate crime charges for allegedly attacking a Muslim store clerk in Queens.
Piro Kolvani, 55, of Jacksonville, Florida was arraigned Monday on a four-count indictment including assault, assault as a hate crime and harassment.
Kolvani's charges stem from the assault of a Queens store owner in Dec. 2015. The victim, Sarker Haque, 55, was working in his store, Fatima Food Mart on 21st Avenue in Astoria when Kolvani walked in and acted strangely.
"He punched me here," Haque told PIX11 last year while pointing to an ice cream cooler. "I fell down here," he said. "I say, 'What the hell you doing? What's wrong with you?' [The attacker] said, 'I kill Muslims.'"
Haque told PIX11 that Kolvani had lingered at his shop days before the attack.
"I was attacked because I am Muslim. The attacker told me after he punched me and told me I kill Muslims," recalled Haque.
If convicted, Kolvani faces up to four years in prison. He will return to court on Feb. 11.