Don’t Tase Our Moms, Yo

Tunics are a clothing staple at stores these days. But a local FOX affiliate reports that a Pakistani Tampa woman’s family feels that she may have been shocked with a Taser because she was wearing a traditional tunic or salwar while shopping at a Walmart. (Thanks for the tip Bewildered.)

The 61-year-old Tampa woman was walking down the aisle of the Walmart on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard when she “felt a jolt” in her back, said Laura McElroy, a spokeswoman for the Tampa Police Department.   Concerned, the woman called her daughters, who rushed to the store and discovered two small marks on her back consistent with being shocked by a stun gun, McElroy said. (Tampa Bay Times)

The police are not releasing video surveillance of the event yet, and they say that the video does not show a Taser being used but does show two women walking past the victim and then passing her again as if targeting her. They will determine if it’s a hate crime after finding and interviewing the suspects, and are also pursuing a theory that it was an attempted robbery.

Bombs away, please

Four locations in Queens rang in the first night of the new year with firebombs. An Islamic center, a bodega, a home used for Hindu worship, and the home of an African-American Christian family had firebombs thrown at them. A fifth location in Nassau County, the home of a desi family, was also targeted with a firebomb. No people were hurt in the attacks, and the NYT mentions that in three of the attacks the bombs used Starbucks Frappucino bottles.

This morning New York religious and community leaders will hold a press conference to denounce the attacks at Imam Al-Khoei, the Islamic center targeted by one of the firebombs. The state’s governor and NYC’s mayor have both spoken out against the attacks.

CBS New York reports that police released a sketch and surveillance video of the suspect, and that the NYPD will pay a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,000 reward. NY1 notes:  ”Anyone with information on the attacks should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit”

A Name to Remember

The New York Times reports that the placement of Mohammad Salman Hamdani’s name on the National September 11 Memorial obscures his bravery that day. Lauded by the mayor, police commissioner and other government officials, including Rep. Keith Ellison, as a hero for trying to save lives at the World Trade Center on 9/11 before he died, 23-year-old Hamdani had been an EMT and a police cadet.

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US Hopes Desis in India Make Chai Not War in 2012

The U.S. is sending comedy showcase “Make Chai Not War” with performers Rajiv Satyal, Azhar Usman and Hari Kondabolu to India for a seven-city tour starting this week. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said the tour is part of the State Department’s regular global exchange cultural programs. She offered more information on why the government is supporting the $100,000 tour.

“The reason we decided to support this tour is because, among the things that they are known for is their talk about religious tolerance, about the importance of breaking down prejudices and about the positive experiences they had growing up as Indian-Americans in the United States,” Nuland said.

“In addition to doing shows, they’ll also be holding audience discussions on these issues of religious tolerance, and doing workshops and having some interviews with the press,” Nuland said, adding that the seven city tour costs about US $100,000; of which the US Embassy in New Delhi is supporting them with a grant of US $88,000. (Economic Times)

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