ELMONT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There’s a chorus of calls for a vicious attack on a Long Island woman to be investigated as a possible hate crime.
The college student was disfigured and partially blinded when acid was thrown at her in March, and the hunt for the attacker continues.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reports, Nassau Police are upping the ante in this horrific acid attack, doubling the reward to $20,000 and going on the record to state they do not know if it’s a hate crime or not but vowing it will be solved.
Nafiah Ikram is focused on recovering from severe burns but plagued by the unknown — who did this?
“I was just living my life, I was minding my business, you know, so what could have provoked someone to do this to me? What could have gotten them so angry? I don’t know, but this is just inhumane,” she said.
The 21-year-old Hofstra student was ambushed in her Elmont driveway in March as she walked into her home moments after her mother went inside.
Someone ran toward her with a cup of acid, burning her face, her eye, her throat and her arms. Her parents were scarred trying to help.
“By the time my parents were washing my face, it was very hard to breathe,” Ikram said.
The unsolved crime is sparking outrage.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling for a hate crime investigation. Ikram is a Pakistani-American Muslim.
“That has to raise a specter, an inference, and an investigation has to be conducted,” said Ahmed Mohamed, with CAIR-NY.
But the family is not convinced.
“The reason I think it is not a hate crime, why did they not throw on my wife?” said Sheikh Ikram, Nafiah’s father.
“If this was a hate crime, we’re both the same religion and same culture. Why didn’t the person throw the acid on both of us?” Nafiah said.
They are long-time Elmont residents. Her father is a chauffer and her mother is a nurse.
Nafiah says there are no spurned ex-boyfriends.
“I’ve never had issues where, like, I rejected someone and they wanted to hurt me,” she said.
“You would think that in 2021, such attacks like this would not happen. We live in New York. This is something you hear about in foreign lands,” Assemblywoman Michaele Solages said.
Solages will lead volunteers seeking new tips and surveillance video.
Nassau police say a suspected red Nissan Altima was seen in multiple locations.
“That person who’s listening who did the act, my advice is to surrender yourself now because we are coming for you. We are going to get you,” Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.
Nafiah says the outpouring of support is helping her heal.
“People who I haven’t spoken to in years are here to support me and show me love, so that really, really helps,” she said.
But what’s needed most to heal, says the family, is an arrest in a heinous crime.
Police say the substance used was a hazardous corrosive material and they putting all resources to making sure the perpetrator is caught.