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Muslim Woman Set on Fire in Midtown Manhattan

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    A Muslim woman was set on fire by a stranger on a midtown street, according to the NYPD, prompting an investigation into whether it was a hate crime. Wale Aliyu reports. (Published Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016)

    A Muslim woman was set on fire by a stranger on a midtown street, according to the NYPD, prompting an investigation into whether it was a hate crime.

    Police released new video Tuesday night showing the man they believe set the woman on fire. 

    The 35-year-old woman, a tourist from Scotland, was window-shopping on Fifth Avenue near East 54th Street Saturday night when she suddenly felt heat on her arm and noticed her blouse was on fire, police said.

    She noticed a man standing next to her with a lighter in his hand, according to police. He ran away eastbound on East 54th Street, not saying a word. 

    The victim was able to quickly put out the flames and wasn't hurt. She declined to speak publicly but told NBC 4 New York she was doing OK and that her only focus and concern is that her attacker is caught and prosecuted. 

    The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the woman was wearing traditional Muslim garb and the NYPD said its Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating whether the act was motivated by bias. 

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the attack, saying it was "the latest in a series of attacks on Muslims in that state and nationwide in recent days and months." It's offering $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. 

    Last week, two Muslim women pushing their toddlers in strollers in Brooklyn were attacked by a woman who screamed "get the f--- out of America b-----s, you don't belong here," according to authorities. The suspect punched one of the women in the head and tried to rip her hijab off. 

    The suspect was arrested and is facing a number of charges in the alleged hate crime.