November 18, 2020

(LOS ANGELES, CA – 11/18/2020) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today decried an alleged hate crime in Anaheim against a Muslim religious leader and called for a full investigation by local police.

According to a report taken by the CAIR-LA Civil Rights Department, on Monday, Nov. 16, Imam Khaled Hemaya was returning home and was assaulted by an unknown male while driving into his gated community in Anaheim.

As Hemaya entered the gate to join his wife at his apartment, the man reportedly blocked Hemaya’s vehicle and questioned whether he lived in the gated community.

“He looked at me wearing my religious attire, he stopped me and told me, ‘You are not [a] resident here, you are not allowed to get in,’” Hemaya said.

The man is alleged to have told Hemaya, “Go back to your country,” and reportedly called him a “Dirty Arab,” and a terrorist.

The man reportedly then began cursing at Hemaya, kicked the tires of his vehicle and finally, opened Hemaya’s door and punched him.

A security guard arrived and called the Anaheim Police Department. Upon arriving, Hemaya said the responding officer declined to make an arrest and suggested that he follow up on the police report to press criminal charges.

In a statement, CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush said:

“This is reprehensible that an innocent person was attacked and assaulted while on his way home. As anti-Muslim hate has exponentially increased over the past few years, we have warned against the danger of how normalizing hate speech leads to hate threats and hate attacks.

“This is yet another example of how that hatred filters down into the everyday lives of people like Imam Hemaya, who was just trying to return home. We call for a full investigation by the Anaheim Police Department.”

Ayloush urged community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-LA’s Civil Rights Department at 714-776-1177 or by filing a report at:

CAIR-LA is Southern California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims.

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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Manager Eugene W. Fields, 714-851-4851 or