A man is behind bars after allegedly assaulting a state representative in Hartford, Connecticut, Wednesday afternoon during a religious holiday celebration, officials announced.
Andrey Desmond, 30, of New Britain, was arrested by Hartford police after he allegedly assaulted Rep. Maryam Khan, a Democrat, when she and her family were observing Eid al-Adha, one of Islam’s holiest days, at the city’s XL Center, WTNH reported. Muslims across the state were gathered at the convention center for the event.
Desmond attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended by a fellow worshiper, who restrained him until authorities arrived, per the report.
He is charged with second-degree unlawful restraint, third-degree assault, second-degree breach of peace and interfering with police.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Connecticut chapter (CAIR-CT) said Khan, her three children – 10, 12 and 15 years old – a friend and her sister were approached by Desmond, who “made vulgar and obscene remarks” before striking her.
“The attacker grabbed and hit her, and threw her to the ground,” the Connecticut chapter continued. “Another worshipper intervened, chased and held the suspect until police arrived.”
The organization’s chair called on law enforcement to investigate the alleged physical attack.
“We urge local, state and federal law enforcement authorities to investigate a possible bias motive for this attack and to ensure the safety of the Connecticut Muslim community during the ongoing Eid al-Adha celebrations,” CAIR-CT Chair Farhan Memon said in a statement. “All too often we have seen American Muslims, or those perceived to be Muslim, targeted by hate because of their attire, race or ethnicity.”
CAIR-CT also urged Hartford police to treat the attack as a hate crime.
CAIR-CT said Eid al-Adha, which is commonly referred to as just “Eid,” is usually celebrated with prayers, small gifts for children, distribution of meat to the needy, and social gatherings. It commemorates Abraham’s loyalty to God’s command.
Connecticut’s Speaker of the House Matt Ritter and Majority Leader Jason Rojas, both Democrats, condemned the attack and said it was “especially painful” that it took place during a religious ceremony.
“It is especially painful that Rep. Khan was attacked on a holy night of peace and prayer,” the two lawmakers said in a joint statement. “On a night she should be spending with her friends and family. Rep. Khan is an amazing leader and person who is committed to faith, love and service – we are sending our well-wishes and support tonight to Maryam and her family.”
Fox News Digital reached out to Khan and the Connecticut police for comment but did not immediately receive a response.