A Muslim student was attacked at Elmhurst College in what school officials described as a hate crime had found anti-Islamic slurs and a swastika scrawled in her locker a week earlier, police and students said Friday.
The 19-year-old sophomore told police a masked, male attacker struck her in the head with a handgun about 8:30 p.m. Thursday after she entered a restroom in the school's Schaible Science Center. She suffered a concussion.
Threatening graffiti - "Kill the Muslims" - was written on a mirror in the restroom, students and police said.
Earlier Thursday, the victim had spoken at a demonstration called to denounce the anti-Islamic slurs and swastika she had discovered Oct. 2 in her locker, school officials and students said. Among the slurs was the phrase "Die Muslims."
Both cases are being investigated as hate crimes, Elmhurst College spokesman Charley Henderson said.
"They have some common threads," Henderson said.
The victim - who wears an Islamic head scarf - and two other Muslim students had been verbally harassed and taunted Sept. 18 during a campus protest calling for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center, friends said.
The Thursday night attack triggered an hourlong lockdown at the college while police searched the campus - and prompted hundreds of students to rally again Friday to protest the incident and call for unity. [Link]
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