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Muslim group pushes hate crime probe of alleged attack on Somali-American man

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A man talks at a press conference.
Haarun Galbayte, right, speaks to reporters alongside Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Minneapolis on Thursday.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

Updated: 8:39 p.m.

Twin Cities Muslim leaders are calling for hate crime charges after a Somali-American man was allegedly attacked in a Minneapolis suburb last week. 

Forty-nine-year-old Haarun Galbayte, of Eden Prairie, said on Oct. 27, he made a morning food delivery at a home in Excelsior and returned to his car. As he was about to drive away, a man came out, punched him several times in the head while yelling at him to go back to his country.

Galbayte spoke to reporters alongside Council on American-Islamic Relations executive director Jaylani Hussein, who said the suspect should face assault charges with a bias enhancement.

"We are glad that he was arrested, but we are looking forward to charges to be appropriate, and most importantly, because this was a bias and a hate crime, for the bias enhancement to be appropriated and for this matter to be taken seriously," Hussein said.

Galbayte said a bystander stopped to help him and provided a statement to South Lake Minnetonka police.

Officers arrested a 54-year-old man and booked him into the Hennepin County Jail on suspicion of misdemeanor fifth-degree assault, the police department said in a statement.

The man had not been charged as of Thursday afternoon.