The malicious attack that occurred last November at Tysons Corner Mall in which a man used anti-Muslim slurs and then bit another man in the face is an appalling example of violent bigotry. Rightfully so, the perpetrator was recently charged with a hate crime.
As McLean residents, we are upset and deeply concerned that this incident occurred in one of our neighborhood social hubs — a place where we shop, eat, and socialize with our families. Our sense of safety and community is in peril with this and other incidents of hate crimes in our region, such as the recent bomb threats against Jewish schools in Fairfax and Montgomery counties.
Intolerance and violence in the places where we live, work, and learn diminishes our basic American values of dignity and respect for everyone. Virginia’s leaders must commit to counter this alarming trend, which has been on the rise since the November elections. Our leaders must speak out unequivocally and repeatedly against hate crimes that target members of our community, and immediately dedicate more resources toward investigating and prosecuting all suspected hate crimes.
For our part, we refuse to let any type of violence motivated by race, religion, or ethnicity become part of our everyday lives and vow to support our neighbors who are being targeted and marginalized.
Christine Sonu Park
Members of Virginia Democracy Forward