December 23, 2010
(NBC.Com) Mohamad Khalil was eating dinner with a friend in a downtown Paterson, N.J. restaurant when chilling words were thrown his way, according to a police report.
“Terrorist,” “Do you have your bomb belt?” “Are you going to slit my throat? Where is your knife?” were just some of the quotes cited in the police report.
Another was “Osama Bin Laden lover.”
The man uttering the words then allegedly turned on Khalil’s partner, Sandra Damrah – an American-born woman who says her father fought in World War Two and her brother in Vietnam– and told her to “go back to your country.”
“Your people are ruining my country,” the man allegedly said.
The verbal assault appears to have stemmed from a battle over Khalil’s efforts to get custody of his young son.
The man who allegedly made those comments is, according to Khalil, a state Division of Youth and Family Services employee handling Khalil’s case. That state worker just happened to see Khalil and Damrah at the restaurant.
At a news conference today, Khalil, 41, said “I’m not a terrorist, I’m a regular person.”
He then broke down in tears as he said “I want my son, that’s only what I want. I think I have all the reason to have my son with me, give him toys, enjoy with him.”
Khalil said DYFS took his son and three other unrelated children a year ago, placing them in foster homes and ignored his pleas to keep his son.
According to James Yee, Executive Director of New Jersey’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the boy was put in a Christian home and is being raised with Christian cultural values, an instance the group said happens all to often with a state agency that is too often insensitive to keeping Muslim children in Muslim families.
A DYFS spokeswoman said the agency could not comment on the specific religious bias alleged of its case worker because of “confidentiality laws” though it did confirm it is looking into it.
But the agency’s Lauren Kidd did say in an emailed statement “DCF(the Department of Children and Families) continues to have an ongoing dialog with CAIR to effectively respond to concerns the organization raised and is committed to serving the Muslim Community.”
She added “The Department is committed to have a rich and diverse pool of resource homes, which include foster, kin and adoptive homes, to ensure the most appropriate placement for each child in our care.”