A Connecticut state representative was assaulted after attending an Eid al-Adha service in downtown Hartford on Wednesday, police and authorities said.
«My heart goes out to Rep. Maryam Khan, who was attacked today after attending Eid al-Adha services with her family,» Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement. statement shared on Twitter.
«It disturbs me that this happened on a holy day meant to be marked with peaceful prayer,» he said.
Khan’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.
Hartford police said NBC Connecticut that a 30-year-old man identified as Andrey Desmond, of New Britain, had been arrested in connection with the incident.
Officers were initially called to the downtown Hartford area around 11 a.m. ET after receiving a report that a man had assaulted a woman, police said. They arrived to find the man had been stopped by civilian bystanders and later arrested.
Police said the suspect is alleged to have approached Khan and made unwanted advances. It was then alleged that she tried to stop the official from leaving her and assaulted her.
The suspect tried to flee but was chased down and held back by another worshiper, police said. Khan suffered minor injuries and was evaluated by medical personnel at the scene, authorities said.
Police said Desmond faces charges including third-degree assault, unlawful restraint, breach of the peace and interference with police.
Any potential motive in the attack was not immediately clear.
Farhan Memon, President of the Connecticut Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urged local, state and federal authorities to «investigate a potential bias motive for this attack and ensure the safety of Connecticut’s Muslim community during the ongoing Eid al-Adha celebrations.»
“Too often we have seen Muslim Americans, or those perceived to be Muslim, targeted for hate because of their dress, race or ethnicity,” Memon said.
He said the Eid al-Adha prayer service at the XL Center in Hartford was the largest gathering of Muslims in recent years and warranted an increased police presence, highlighting previous attacks on houses of worship and Muslims in the US. He said the Muslim community had hired two off-duty officers at their own expense.
“Given the size and prominence of the event, more officers should have been present,” Memon said.
Connecticut House Speaker Matt Ritter and Majority Leader Jason Rojas said the State Capitol Police «assured us that they will work with Hartford Police to conduct a full and thorough investigation.»
“It is especially painful that Rep Khan was attacked on a holy night of peace and prayer. On a night that should be spending with his friends and family, ”they said.
That is, the «Feast of Sacrifice», Eid al-Adha, which began on Wednesday, is a joyous occasion marked by prayers and special feasts.
Lamont said details of the assault were «still being revealed» but said: «I know our law enforcement personnel will conduct a thorough investigation into what happened.»
Khan was elected during a 2022 special election in March to represent District 5, serving Hartford and Windsor, and is the first Muslim member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, according to a Biography on the Connecticut House Democrats website. She was re-elected last November to serve her first full legislative term.
She lives in Windsor, less than 10 miles north of Hartford, with her husband and three children, according to the bio.
«Representative Khan is a dedicated public servant who cares deeply about passing legislation that uplifts her constituents in Hartford and Windsor. I have her and her loved ones in my thoughts,» Lamont said.