MATINECOCK, New York – An Iranian-American nail salon owner was brutalized by robbers who called her a "terrorist" and scrawled anti-Muslim messages on a mirror in her shop, the victim and police said.
"I'm in shock," victim Zoreh Assemi told WNBC-TV after the attack Saturday morning, a web of cuts and bruises visible on her face, arms and hands. She said she felt "terrorized ... not by American people, but by a very small group and prejudice. And it hurts."
Nassau County police, who were treating the attack as a bias crime, had made no arrests early Sunday and were appealing to the public for tips.
Two men sneaked up on Assemi, 52, as she was getting ready to open the Givan Nail and Skin Center at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, police said.
The attackers pushed her into the store and kicked her, pounded her hand with a hammer and slashed her with what may have been a box cutter, police said.
"One of them was just beating me up with a stick, and the other one was cutting," Assemi, who said she is a naturalized American citizen, told WNBC. She said the attackers cursed her, called her a "terrorist" and told her to "go back to your country."
After damaging some items in the salon and defacing the mirror, the duo ran off with an unknown amount of cash, according to police.
Assemi was treated at a local hospital and released later Saturday, police said.
Assemi told WNBC she left Iran and was granted asylum during the 1980s. Iran was engaged in a long and destructive war with neighboring Iraq during most of the decade.
Assemi, who has owned the salon for 20 years, said she became a citizen during the last six years.