PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A young woman facing 5 charges for an alleged assault on a Muslim woman in Portland is now being sought by police after failing to appear in court.
Jasmine Renee Campbell was arrested December 13 on an unrelated issue, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said. But she’d been under investigation since the alleged incident happened on November 12, 2019.
That night, the DA’s office said, a 24-year-old PSU foreign exchange student from Saudi Arabia was at a TriMet stop in the 900 block of SW Yamhill when a woman, later identified as Campbell, grabbed her hijab off her head.
Campbell, 23, then allegedly tried to choke the student with the hijab, but she managed to push Campbell away. Campbell then allegedly took the hijab by force and rubbed it “on and across multiple exposed sexually intimate parts of her body,” the DA’s office said. Court documents say a patrol officer in the area showed up and saw some of what went on.
The student reported it to the police and, documents show, she no longer feels safe wearing a hijab. Dr. Anjabeen Ashraf, spokesperson for Oregon Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), spoke to KOIN 6 News about women who wear hijabs and are targeted for them.
“Something that is a beautiful, internal connection to God is unfortunately turned into something that they are being targeted for,” said Ashraf.
After she was read her rights, Campbell told the arresting officer she wanted to show the victim that she did not have to be Muslim and that religion doesn’t define her.
“When I first hear that, I think of this narrative that Muslim women need to be saved,” Ashraf responded. “We’re hearing more and more from Muslim youth and Muslims in the US of having to make this really hard choice between safety and their faith, and that’s just a decision and a choice that nobody has to make.”
Campbell was scheduled to appear in court January 3 but didn’t show up. She is charged with 2 bias crimes, attempted strangulation, harassment and criminal mischief.