Woman says she was attacked for speaking foreign language

2015-11-08 10:53


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Minnesota - A woman who was attacked by another woman in a US restaurant, allegedly because she was speaking a foreign language, said she feels traumatised and may move out of Minnesota.

Asma Jama told Minnesota Public Radio News that she was chatting with her family in Swahili, one of three languages she speaks, at a Minnesota restaurant on October 30 when a woman in a nearby booth smashed a beer mug in her face. The attack left a deep cut on her lip that required stiches.

"Somebody hit me because I was speaking a different language," said Jama, an ethnic Somali who came to Minnesota in 2000 from Kenya. Jama said she couldn't "believe after all these years somebody hit me because I'm different".

The woman accused in the attack, Jodie Burchard-Risch, was arrested and charged with third-degree assault.

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has called for hate crime charges.

Additional charges are possible, said Paul Young, criminal division chief in the Anoka County Attorney's Office. He noted that prosecutors are still investigating and waiting for medical reports.

No working phone numbers for Burchard-Risch could be found on Saturday by The Associated Press. Burchard-Risch is scheduled to return to court on December 7. It wasn't immediately known if she had an attorney.

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