Florida: His potential new neighbors were Muslim. So he threatened to burn down the house they wanted

Florida

The Davis Islands, near downtown Tampa, is one of the city’s more exclusive neighborhoods.  The Muslim Times is the Mecca of collection to refute Islamophobia

By Jessica Campisi and Tina Burnside, CNN

Updated 2:06 PM ET, Wed June 13, 2018

(CNN) For weeks afterward, Kaderbhai Ali Asgar couldn’t sleep.

As immigrant Muslims of Indian descent, he and his wife, Sehera Ali Asgar, had experienced discrimination in the US before. But it had never been like this.

By late 2016, the Tampa, Florida, family were planning a move to the city’s upscale Davis Islands neighborhood. They found a house they liked, placed it under contract and scheduled a final walk-through before completing the sale.

On November 3, 2016, Asgar and his wife showed up at their soon-to-be home dressed in traditional Indian clothing, as they normally do. Asgar wore a topi — a woven cap Muslim men wear — and his wife and mother-in-law wore head scarves.

“You lied to me, you lied to me, you told me those people would not be moving into the house!” yelled the man, who was later identified as David H. Howard, according to court documents. “I will break all of your f—ing windows and I will burn your f—ing house down!”

Then the man turned to the family and said, “You are not welcome here!” In the days afterward, he made insulting comments about Muslims to his neighbors and asked a mover if he was “moving the dotheads in.”

After hearing Howard’s comments, Asgar and his family quickly got into their car and drove away. They canceled the home purchase the next day.

Asgar told an FBI agent and prosecutors that he was “shocked beyond imagination,” according to court documents. He said the episode made him and his family “think twice about expressing their faith and religion — an injury worse than any broken bone or destroyed property.”

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