Sergeant Major Damien T. Rodriguez, an active duty marine, recently visited an Iraqi restaurant in Oregon. The restaurant’s name, DarSalam, means “House of Peace.” He was in the company of a friend and neither of them seemed in a hurry to order any food. They actually sat for an hour and refused to order.
Indecisiveness wasn’t the reason they sat so long. They came with the intent to spread some hate and intimidate to those in the restaurant, especially the staff. Rodriguez was caught on video at the restaurant shouting racial slurs. At one point, he can be seen swinging a chair, hitting one of the employees. Apparently, Rodriguez has served two tours in Iraq and suffers from PTSD – his hatred of Iraqis is completely irrational.
Ghaith Sahib, the restaurant’s owner, came to the United States in 2005. He met his wife, Tiffany Sahib while he was working in Amsterdam. The couple created the restaurant in Washington, where Tiffany is from, in hopes to show people a different side of Iraq. She was more disturbed by the attack than her husband. She told KGW,
Clearly these guys had a problem with middle easterners and Iraq. It’s an obvious hate crime. And it was an assault. Our staff member is injured physically, both of our staff members that were most directly involved are traumatized emotionally as well.
He was indicted on one count of assault in the second degree, one count of disorderly conduct in the second degree and two counts of intimidation in the second degree – the intimidation charge is the same as being charged with a hate crime in Washington.
However, all charges have been dropped. Apparently, this will be resolved on a military level. The Marine Corps stated,
[The Marine Corps] reserves the right to address this incident through administrative and judicial means once the local investigation is complete and case adjudicated.
We hope that his rank in the military does not play a factor in the Marine Corps’ resolution.