Pakistani college student, 21, blinded and disfigured in ‘heinous’ acid attack outside her Long Island home

New York Daily News:

A stranger threw acid on a Pakistani college student from Long Island, disfiguring her face and shattering her life in an attack activists want investigated as an anti-Muslim hate crime.

Nafiah Ikram, 21, and her mom were getting out of their car outside their Elmont home March 17 when a man rushed up to her, threw a caustic liquid at her face and ran off.

Authorities believe the man may have fled in a 2013 or 2014 red Nissan Altima, Nassau County police said Wednesday.

The attack left her hospitalized for 15 days, with severe burns to her face, eyes, neck, and hands, according to the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“My whole life changed in a matter of five minutes,” the Hofstra University student said in an interview with WCBS-TV. “We don’t realize what we have until it’s gone.”

She was all but blinded by the attack. “I can just see colors, but that’s it,” she told WCBS. “I want to know, like, what’s the reason? Like, what could I have possibly done to somebody?”

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder asked anyone with information to come forward and call (800) 244-TIPS, and announced a $10,000 reward for info leading to an arrest.

“This attack was a vicious and heinous crime and I am personally requesting anyone with knowledge to come forward,” he said.

“The family and the community at large must learn why this happened,” he said Wednesday. “The New York State Hate Crimes Task Force must aid local law enforcement as the search for the suspects enter the second month.”

The case has also drawn public attention, including a plea from celebrity chef Padma Lakshmi, who said in an Instagram video she’s known her family for years.

“We don’t even know if she’ll be able to see properly ever again, because she had contacts in, and the acid burned and melted the contacts into her eyes,” she said. Because she screamed, the acid got into her body, and she hasn’t been able to eat solid food since, Lakshmi said.

She added, “And we want to find the people that did this terrible, heinous crime to her and catch them, and we need your help.”

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