Published 9:42 pm, Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Kaderbhai Ali Asgar left India to find a place where he’d be able grow as a chemical engineer, landing in a country he believed was “the land of the free.”
His dreams mostly held true as he and his family made their lives in Tampa, Florida, until November 2016, when they were on the verge of moving to Davis Islands, an upscale island neighborhood near the city’s downtown.
Asgar and his wife had entered into a contract for a house in the area, and had scheduled a final walk-through of the property with the two sellers, Asgar’s wife’s parents, two realtors, movers and a cleaning person. Asgar, who is Muslim, was wearing a topi, a woven cap with religious meaning, and his wife and mother-in-law wore headscarves.
But after they arrived at the house, a neighbor, who law enforcement officials later identified as David Howard, walked toward the home, yelling at the seller and Asgar’s family.
“This sale will not take place!” Howard yelled, according to court documents filed by federal prosecutors. “I will break all of your f—ing windows and I will burn your f—ing house down!”
He then said, “You are not welcome here!” and later asked a mover if he was “moving the dotheads in” and made insulting remarks about Muslims to neighbors, court documents said. The family canceled the purchase of the home as they no longer felt safe.
“This was such a shocking incident in our life that none of us can contemplate how we’ve gone through it,” Asgar told The Post. “It’s so much emotional, mental, psychological distress.”