Muslim woman set alight in New York attack

A SCOTTISH tourist was set alight while wearing a full length burka in Midtown, New York on Saturday and now police have released CCTV footage of the man they believe was responsible for the attack.

The 35 year-old woman told authorities she was shopping outside a ritzy Fifth Avenue boutique when she noticed the sleeve of her blouse was smoldering - she turned to look around and saw her attacker standing with a lighter in his hand. 

The crime has now sparked global outrage and led the Council on American-Islamic Relations to offer a $1000 reward for information that leads to the man's arrest. 

"It is important that the perpetrators of these crimes be apprehended and their motives be established," CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad told the New York Daily News which broke the story. 

"The spike in incidents targeting American Muslims and their institutions is the inevitable result of the ongoing mainstreaming of Islamophobia we are witnessing in our society."

The New York Police Department has released footage of the man they say may have been responsible for the attack. 

The footage shows a man whose race is unclear, wearing black pants, a singlet and a baseball cap. 

Last year the number of hate-crime attacks against Muslims in the US tripled according to research by California State University San Bernardino college professor Brian Levin.

"Among ISIS' most prominent goals is painting the west as being incompatible with the Muslim faith and hostile toward Muslims who live there and reject the caliphate," Levin told NBC News in December. 

"Similar to what we saw after 9/11, in recent weeks following the terrible and tragic attacks in San Bernardino and Paris - and amidst a ratcheting up of divisive rhetoric around religious intolerance -community members and advocates have reported an uptick in hate-related incidents targeting Muslim Americans, as well as those perceived, rightly or wrongly, as being Muslim," 

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