A Stanford University student who was hit in a hit-and-run that authorities are investigating as a hate crime called on Sunday for others to “unite in denouncing hate, bigotry and violence.”
Abdulwahab Omira, an Arab Muslim, shared the message from a hospital bed. The driver, who Omira said was a white man in his 20s, made eye contact Friday afternoon, accelerated toward him and hit him while shouting out the window of his Toyota 4Runner: “F— you and your people. The university in Northern California announced this in a public safety alert on Saturday.
Omira said he was on his way to campus when he was hit. He suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the Stanford Department of Public Safety said.
“As I lie in my hospital bed, grappling with a reality I could never have imagined, I reflect on the importance of spreading love, kindness, and compassion in a world that seems to constantly succumb to hate and prejudice . This ordeal has strengthened my resolve to stand up for love, understanding and inclusivity,” Omira wrote in a statement.
The Stanford University campus in Palo Alto, California, including the Hoover Tower, on September 16. David Madison/Getty Images
He also denounced what he called the university’s slow response, saying that the school “responded six hours late” and that subsequent communications downplayed the severity of the incident.
Omira claimed that it took “a multitude of emails and calls for recognition” to get the university administration to respond in person. In response to the claim, Dee Mostofi, the school’s associate vice president for external communications, said the university issued a notice as soon as there was enough information from the California Highway Patrol to do so.
Stanford President Richard Saller and Provost Jenny Martinez said in a joint statement Friday that they were “troubled” by “potential hate-based physical violence on our campus.”
“Violence on our campus is unacceptable,” they said. “Hate-based violence is morally reprehensible and we condemn it in the strongest terms. We would like to express our deep concern for the injured student and everyone affected by this incident.”
Authorities are still searching for the driver, who was said to have short, dark blonde hair and a short beard. He was reportedly wearing a gray shirt and round-framed glasses. The university’s public safety department said he fled in the black SUV, model year 2015 or newer, which had an exposed tire mounted to the rear.
Omira said the “emotional scars” of the attack would likely remain, and he called on others to denounce hate and celebrate diversity.
“I implore everyone reading this: let us unite in denouncing hatred, bigotry and violence. Let us take the time to understand each other, celebrate our diversity and stand united against the forces that seek to divide us,” he said. “There is immense power in love and understanding, enough to overshadow the darkness of hate.”
Omira’s incident is not the first incident of hatred to erupt on a university campus in the US since Hamas militants carried out their terrorist attack in Israel on October 7, sparking a war. A student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, was federally charged last week with making anti-Semitic threats toward his classmates.
Source : www.nbcnews.com