Texas woman charged after ‘attempting to drown’ Palestinian child

Woman is charged with attempted murder as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urges US authorities to investigate incident as a ‘hate crime’.

Demonstrators hold signs denouncing violence against Muslims at a news conference to issue a statement against bigotry and islamophobia at City Hall in New York
Demonstrators hold signs denouncing violence against Muslims [File: Lucas Jackson/Reuters]

A woman from Texas has been charged with attempted murder after she tried to drown a three-year-old Palestinian girl, according to United States media reports, citing local police.

The incident, which took place on May 19 in Euless, Texas, is being described by civil rights groups as racially motivated.

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Texas), the accused, 42-year-old Elizabeth Wolf, attacked the girl at the swimming pool at her family’s apartment complex. The child’s mother and six-year-old brother were also present.

“Mrs. H, the mother, who wears hijab [Islamic headscarf] and modest swimwear, was watching her children in the shallow end of the pool when a white American woman entered the swimming pool area,” CAIR said in a press release on Friday.

“The alleged attacker reportedly approached the mother with racist interrogations then jumped into the swimming pool and grabbed the children to the deep end of the pool to allegedly drown them,” the civil rights group said, after which the mother jumped in to rescue her children, with Wolf responding by ripping off her headscarf.

Local Euless police arrived at the scene and arrested Wolf for public intoxication, news reports said.

“We are American citizens, originally from Palestine, and I don’t know where to go to feel safe with my kids. My country is facing a war, and we are facing that hate here,” CAIR quoted the child’s mother as saying.

“My daughter is traumatised; whenever I open the apartment door, she runs away and hides, telling me she is afraid the lady will come and immerse her head in the water again.”

‘Hate has no place’ in Texas

Texas House of Representatives member from Euless, Salman Bhojani, said he was left “appalled” by the incident.

“I’m shocked and appalled by this alleged racist, Islamophobic occurrence that took place in my town. Hate has no place in Euless, District 92, or anywhere in our great state,” Bhojani said.

The attack comes in the shadow of Israel’s war on Gaza, in which at least 37,598 Palestinians have been killed. The war began on October 7, following a Hamas-led attack on Israel, in which 1,139 people were killed, with dozens still held captive in Gaza.

In late November, three Palestinian men in their early 20s were shot near a university campus in Vermont in the US, injuring all three of them.

One month earlier, police in the US state of Illinois charged a 71-year-old man with murder and a hate crime for stabbing a six-year-old Palestinian-American boy to death and seriously injuring his mother.

According to the police, he targeted the victims as a response to the war in Gaza and their religion.

In its press release, CAIR said it had received 3,578 complaints of bias and discrimination in the last three months of last year.

Source: Al Jazeera