A man made derogatory remarks about Muslims to a couple he heard speaking in Arabic before he attacked the husband in Rockville Sunday, according to police.
A man and his wife were speaking Arabic to each other as they walked on the sidewalk of Rollins Avenue near East Jefferson Street at about 2:15 p.m. when they passed a man who said derogatory things to them, according to a Montgomery County police press release. The man making the remarks threatened the man and assaulted him.
The attacker ran toward Rockville Pike, according to police. The man he attacked reported the assault to police. The man suffered minor injuries, but declined medical treatment.
Detectives are investigating the incident as a hate-based assault, police said.
Hate crimes, which are motivated by racial prejudice or another type of bias, have been a continuing concern for Rockville and the county in the past year. Montgomery County saw a 32 percent increase in reports of hate crimes last year, including a spike in November and December after the presidential election.
Police describe the attacker as a white man, about 37 to 43 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a muscular build. He was wearing a black vest over a white t-shirt and blue jeans. Police said he he didn’t have a weapon.
Anyone with information about the attack was asked to call police at 240-773-6084.