UPDATE NO. 2, JULY 27, 4:23 P.M.: The Greater Los Angeles Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA), whose office is in Anaheim, says it welcomed news of the arrest in the assault of two Muslim women in Irvine.
“We are grateful to the Irvine Police Department for pursuing this case and standing up for the rights of Californian Muslims,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush in a statement. “We encourage everyone in the community to report suspected hate incidents, allowing our law enforcement professionals to continue protecting American Muslims from Islamophopbic attacks.” CAIR-LA has established a Civil Rights Hotline (714.776.1177) for reporting suspected hate incidents.
CAIR-LA knows all about hate crimes directed at Muslims in Orange County. Earlier this month, the Anaheim office received an email with the subject line “Muslim sewer rats,” followed by: “Hey there Muslim PIG SWINE. We MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of PATRIOTS, armed to the teeth with HUNDREDS of millions of weapons, with literally over 50 BILLION rounds of horrific, violent camel jockey piercing rounds of ammo. We have a LEADER in the White House, now standing for JUDEO-Christian values. … You have mistaken European White Males patience for weakness. Get ready to have a war ...” CAIR-LA reported the email to the FBI.
UPDATE NO. 1, JULY 27, 9:24 A.M.: The Orange County District Attorney’s office just announced the filing of felony charges against Irvine resident Brandon Ricardo Pascual. He faces two felony counts of assault-hate crime with ability to cause injury and the possibility of three years in state prison. The OCDA confirms that the two women victims are Muslim and that Pascual allegedly yelled an anti-Islamic expletive at them. He is also accused of momentarily blocking their car in the Target parking lot with his Camry, which prevented them from leaving. Pascual, the OCDA says, was identified through surveillance footage as well as the partial license plate number the women reported to the Irvine Police Department.
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 27, 7:59 A.M.: A 35-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of hate crimes for religious slurs yelled at a woman wearing a hijab and another woman in Irvine.
Brandon Ricardo Pascual was booked at the Irvine Police Department Wednesday following a months-long investigation, according to spokeswoman Kim Mohr.
The women were leaving the Target store at 3750 Barranca Parkway around 8 p.m. on March 1 when a silver Toyota Camry pulled up alongside them and the driver made the religious slur, said Mohr, who added one victim was wearing a hijab or headdress traditionally worn by Muslim women.
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The incident got scarier: Moments after the women got into their car and drove away from Target, they heard a clanking sound while stopped at a traffic light on Culver Drive and Alton Parkway. The same Toyota Camry was now alongside the women’s car, and the same driver was throwing coins at them through an open window, Mohr said.
The passenger was struck by a coin but uninjured, and both managed to get a partial license plate number before the Camry disappeared.
The partial plate was given to police, Mohr said, and that information eventually helped lead detectives to Pascual.
However, the investigation continues, and anyone with information is asked to contact IPD Detective Leticia Hernandez at 949.724.7245 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.