A Buddhist monk from Washington state was visiting Hood River, Oregon, when he was attacked in an apparent hate crime. The monk says he was stepping out of his vehicle when an unknown assailant ran up to him, hit him in the side of the head, and smashed his head against his car door. The man allegedly screamed an expletive about Muslims before leaving the scene of the crime.
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KPTV reports that a Buddhist monk, Kozen Sampson, was visiting Hood River, Oregon, when he was attacked and called a Muslim. The monk was wearing a brown robe when he was attacked and believes the attacker thought he was Muslim, as the attacker screamed an expletive about Muslims while smashing the man’s face into his vehicle.
According to KVAL, the monk was mistaken for a Muslim as he exited his vehicle at a park in Hood River, Oregon, to perform some obedience training with his dogs while wearing his brown robe. The monk, who also founded the Trout Lake Abbey Retreat, says that once he exited his vehicle, a white man with brown hair ran towards him. The attacker kicked the monk’s vehicle door before hitting him in the side of the head and smashing his face into his car door frame. The attacker yelled an expletive about Muslims before leaving the scene of the alleged hate crime.
“I pulled over, someone ran up and yelled. I turned around, they kicked the door, hit me in the side of the face and knocked my head into the frame of the car. I do remember [him yelling] an F bomb [about] Muslims, and that was it.”
The monk’s account indicates that the attack was completely unprovoked and that the attacker likely chose Sampson as a target because he was wearing a robe he believed to be a symbol of the Muslim faith. Though the monk sustained injuries to his face and head, he says he has no animosity towards the attacker and instead feels sadness for a person filled with so much fear that they would lash out in this way. In fact, the monk says he feels sorry for the man who attacked him due to his hate towards people of the Muslim faith.
“I was thinking, ‘That poor man.’ Can you imagine living your life in fear and anger? Can you imagine wanting to do something that you had to hurt somebody?”
Monk Sampson says that he believes the man mistook him for a Muslim and targeted him for that reason. In response, the monk says that we should all “take a hard look” to determine how we are treating our “brothers and sisters,” including those following the Islamic faith.
“I don’t know the Islamic faith well, but I do know that Muslims are our brothers and sisters and I would encourage everyone to just take a hard look at how supportive are you of all God’s children.”
Local police in Hood River, Oregon, have not identified a suspect in the alleged hate crime against the monk and are asking for the public’s help regarding the incident, which took place on February 29, 2016. Though the incident took place last week, the case is gaining public attention as the Hood River police posted information to their Facebook page requesting those with information about the case to come forward. The police ask that anyone with information call Hood River police at 541-387-5257. The suspect was described only as a white mail with brown hair.
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