Police investigating campus hit-and-run that injured Muslim Stanford student as possible hate crime

Stanford, California police say driver reportedly yelled slur before hitting student

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, November 6, 2023
Stanford, police investigating hit-and-run as possible hate crime
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CHP is investigating a possible hate crime on the Stanford University campus. An Arab Muslim student was hurt in a hit-and-run traffic incident.

STANFORD, Calif. -- The California Highway Patrol is investigating a possible hate crime on the Stanford University campus. An Arab Muslim student was injured in a hit-and-run traffic incident. Authorities say the driver made contact with the victim and reportedly yelled a slur before striking the student.

"It was targeted. It should never have happened," Stanford student Farah Tantawy said.

Arab Muslim students at Stanford are reacting to a hit-and-run that happened on Campus Drive Friday afternoon. Police and University officials are calling the incident a possible hate crime.

In a statement, the victim, Abdulwahab Omira, said, "As an Arab Muslim student at Stanford, I never imagined becoming the victim of a hate-driven attack."

He claims as he walked to class, a car driven by someone who has reportedly shown animosity toward his community in the past, struck him intentionally.

"His hateful screams of '(expletive) you and your people' still echo in my ears as I grapple with the emotional pain this incident has left in its wake," Omira's statement continues.

The student is recovering from his injuries in the hospital.

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"It was a hate crime, an absolute violation of his ability to exist on campus," Tantawy said.

Police say the student described the driver as a man in his mid-20s with short, dirty blond hair and a beard, wearing glasses. The suspect vehicle is believed to be a black Toyota 4Runner -- 2015 model or newer -- with an exposed tire mounted to the rear center and white California license plates, with the letters M and J.

In a statement, Stanford's president and provost condemned the crime: "We are profoundly disturbed to hear this report of potentially hate-based physical violence on our campus. Violence on our campus is unacceptable. Hate-based violence is morally reprehensible, and we condemn it in the strongest terms."

On Friday, a campus safety alert went out about the hit-and-run, saying additional security had been deployed to locations on campus -- including where Arab Muslim students are in the second week of a sit-in, demanding the university condemn Israel's siege on Gaza. But students criticize the university's slow response to crime.

"It's completely irresponsible for an alert to have taken so long to come out, ridiculous. The school needs to do better," Tantawy said.

Stanford said it sent the notice as soon as there was enough information from CHP.

Stanford's Jewish Hillel center reacted with this statement from Rabbi Jessica Kirschner: "Whoever is found to be responsible should be held fully accountable for their actions. Antisemitism and Islamophobia are rising on our campuses and in our country. It is imperative that the university ensure that all minority populations are protected, and that there is zero tolerance for hateful speech, actions, and violence."