Dunwoody police confirmed Tuesday they are searching for a man accused of ripping the headscarf off a Muslim girl while yelling “terrorist” at Perimeter Mall.
The 14-year-old victim, whose identity hasn’t been released, was walking with a group in the parking lot near Maggiano's Little Italy at 9:40 p.m. when the stranger approached. He fled after snatching the hijab, police said.
“Dunwoody is a very diverse community, welcoming people of all faiths. Therefore, an incident such as this one is unusual,” Police Chief Billy Grogan said in a news release. “The Dunwoody Police Department is committed to protecting our citizens and will conduct a thorough investigation.”
The police are calling the case an assault.
The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man.
“We thank local law enforcement for pledging to investigate this despicable attack, which is the latest in a wave of anti-Muslim hate crimes across the nation," Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia, said in a news release.
Mitchell told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the family is shaken by the attack.
The case is the latest in a string of religiously-motivated incidents in metro Atlanta.
Local Jewish institutions, including the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta in Dunwoody, have received bomb threats.
CAIR-Georgia urged last month for Atlanta-area mosques to up security after death threats at Lawrenceville’s Greenview Madani Center, Norcross’ Masjid Omar bin Abdul Aziz and Al-Farooq Masjid in Atlanta. But in the case of the Perimeter Mall victim, CAIR-Georgia said the family won’t press charges if the man comes forward and apologizes.
In the meantime, police want anyone who might have information on him to contact the investigator.