Woman Attacked In Applebee's For Speaking Foreign Language

Photo: John Greim/REX Shutterstock
On October 30, Asma Jama was sitting with her family in a suburban Minneapolis Applebee's restaurant when she was allegedly attacked by another woman for no other reason than that she was speaking a foreign language, reports Minnesota Public Radio News.

Sitting in a booth with her cousins and nieces, Jama was chatting with her family in Swahili while waiting for her pasta Alfredo to arrive when the couple seated next to them, Jodie Burchard-Risch, 43, and her husband, became upset at hearing the family speak a foreign language, according to the criminal complaint.

"Go home," Jama says the couple told her family. "When you're in America you should speak English." (Trump would be proud.)

"I'm home," Jama responded to the couple. "I can speak English, but we choose to speak whatever language we want." According to authorities, Burchard-Risch then responded by hitting Jama in the face with a glass mug, leaving the multi-lingual Minnesota resident with cuts across her face and a deep gash on her lip that required 17 stitches.

"I [can't] believe after all these years somebody hit me because I'm different," Jama told MPR. "Somebody hit me because I was speaking a different language."

On Monday, Burchard-Risch was arrested and charged in Anoka County District Court with third-degree assault. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) has since called for hate crime charges, with executive director Jaylani Hussein releasing a statement arguing that "the current charge is insufficient to communicate the seriousness of and possible bias motive for the alleged attack."

Additional charges are indeed possible, Paul Young, criminal division chief of the Anoka County Attorney's Office, told The Associated Press, noting that prosecutors are investigating and waiting for medical reports before filing additional or enhancement charges.

Sadly, Jama says she now feels "traumatized" and doesn't feel safe leaving the house alone. "I'm actually thinking about moving out of Minnesota," she said. "I'm scared for my life. I don't feel comfortable here anymore."
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