Wednesday, July 12, 2017

USA: Man suspected of telling Muslim couple to 'go back to your country' arraigned


Sorrell is suspected of driving past the Muslim couple and telling them to "go back to your (expletive) country" before gesturing like he was pulling the trigger on a handgun.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Oregonian/OregonLive
By Olivia Dimmer | July 11, 2017

A man accused of trailing a Muslim couple in their vehicle, attempting to ram into them and shouting, "Take off the (expletive) burka -- this is America," was arraigned Monday in Multnomah County Court.

Frederick Nolan Sorrell, 49, faces three counts of second-degree intimidation stemming from the May 29 incident, according to court documents. He has been released from custody pending his next court appearance, which has yet to be scheduled.

As previously reported by The Oregonian/OregonLive, Sorrell is suspected of driving past the Muslim couple and telling them to "go back to your (expletive) country" before gesturing like he was pulling the trigger on a handgun.

A man also made a hand gesture that resembled him pulling the trigger on a gun, a Council on American-Islamic Relations said.

The Oregon committee of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a statement Sorrell allegedly trailed the couple in their vehicle for more than 20 blocks.

"We hope the arrest of this suspect will serve to deter others from committing bias-motivated crimes targeting Muslims or any other minority group," CAIR-Oregon spokesperson Zakir Khan said in the news release.

Frederick Nolan Sorrell allegedly made a hand gesture mimicking him pulling the trigger on a gun at the pair in late May.

Harris Zafar, a Portland resident and spokesman for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said the incident was alarming to many Portland Muslims, especially since emotions are still so raw from a fatal MAX train attack in May.

"I think what's important about this, being a bias-motivated crime, is that it should be prosecuted to set a precedent that these threats that are targeted against any group will not be tolerated in Portland," Zafar said. "It's significant that police stepped up and saw a formidable threat."

And a track record of threats gone unpunished can lead to violence, Zafar added, noting that the man accused of the MAX stabbing was known for rampant hate speech.

Court records show Sorrell has a long history of run-ins with the law. Most were driving-related, but he was also convicted of telephone harassment in Yamhill County in 1998 and rape in Multnomah County in 2001.


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