Asma Jama was eating with her friends and children at an Applebee’s restaurant when another patron apparently became upset that Jama was speaking Swahili and smashed her mug across Jama’s face.
“I was sitting turned around like this and all of a sudden I feel something thrown on my face — boom,” said Jama. “My cousin started screaming and everyone wanted to run away.”
The woman who attacked Jama, Jodie Marie Burchard-Risch, yelled and threw her drink at Jama, who tried to explain to the woman that she had the right of free speech to converse with her friends in a different language. After Burchard-Risch smashed the mug across Jama’s face, she ran away, but one of the managers of the restaurant followed her outside and kept an eye on her until police arrived to arrest her.
“Emotionally that has destroyed me,” Jama said. “I’ve lived in Minnesota for 15 years, never had anyone even look at me weird for not speaking English and wearing a Hijab. I’ve seen hate crimes on TV, but for it to happen to me — I’m really a different person, I don’t like it.”
A GoFundMe page has since been set up to help Jama pay for treatment for her injuries. According to the page, “Asma suffered trauma all over her face due to this attack. Her injuries required 15 stitches all over her face with busted lips, cut on top of her eye brow and cuts all over her face.”
“Let us stand together against hate and help Asma get back to her feet again,” the page continued.