Zacharia Doar, a 23-year-old Palestinian-American, became the victim of a vicious attack in what local authorities have confirmed as a hate crime. The incident occurred near the University of Texas at Austin, where Doar was riding in a truck with three other Muslim Americans.
The assailant, identified as Bert James Baker, 36, allegedly targeted Doar and his companions after they displayed a keffiyeh scarf with “Free Palestine” written on it, following their participation in a pro-Palestinian protest. Baker, riding a bicycle, approached the truck and began yelling racial slurs before physically assaulting Doar.
The altercation escalated when Baker reportedly pulled out a knife and stabbed Doar in the rib, causing non-life-threatening injuries. Police arrived at the scene and arrested Baker, who was initially charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The Austin Police Department’s Hate Crimes Review Committee later determined that the evidence met the definition of a hate crime.
Doar’s father, Nizar Doar, expressed anguish over the incident, noting his son’s suffering and the shattered dreams of a young family. Zacharia Doar, now recovering at home, faces a lengthy healing process, with doctors estimating at least six weeks for his recovery.
The attack on Zacharia Doar underscores a troubling trend of violence against marginalized communities, particularly in the aftermath of the Israel-Hamas conflict. The incident comes amid heightened tensions and a surge in threats targeting Jewish, Muslim, and Arab individuals across the United States.
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As authorities continue to investigate the incident, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office will determine whether to bring hate crime charges against Baker. Meanwhile, the Doar family and their community grapple with the aftermath of this traumatic event, emphasizing the urgent need to address hate and bigotry in all its forms.