New York City metro station Source: WikiMedia

An Orthodox Jewish woman and her daughter were horrifically attacked and beaten at a New York subway station by a man who mistook them for being Muslim, New York Daily reported on Thursday. 

According to police sources, the man, now identified as Dimitrious Zias, shouted: “Get out of my country, you dirty Muslim!" as he assaulted both women. 

The incident took place on Wednesday as the two victims were leaving a Queens subway station. 

"The women were leaving the station and headed up the stairs, when Zias, who had been drinking, came up behind them. The mother waved him along, at which point he allegedly derided her as a 'dirty Muslim,' The local daily wrote

When the woman's daughter came to her defense, Zias then hit her in the face. He also punched the mother. 

Speaking to a local news station, the daughter, who suffers from Lupus, said her illness "was aggravated by the assault."

She also explained that she and her mom were likely mistaken for being Muslim because "her mother wears a headdress to adhere to her Orthodox faith."

“I never expected it would happen in this neighborhood,” she added.

"Zias was arrested at the scene and charged with assault as a hate crime. He was arraigned Thursday and ordered held on $50,000 bail." 

People react on social media

Soon after news of the horrific attack began making the rounds online, many reacted with utter anger and outrage. 

"Bigots nearly always go by outward appearances, which is why Islamophobia = Racism"

People raised several important questions, including this one

Many sent out prayers to the mother and daughter

Rights organizations condemned the attack

"An attack on 1 faith is an attack on all"

"This is exactly why we should all fight against Islamophobia. Hate hurts us all."

A sharp rise in attacks against Muslims and minorities in the U.S.

The U.S. has seen a sharp rise in racist attacks against Muslims and people who belong to other minorities, in the past two years. 

Earlier this year, a study revealed that 2016 was a "banner year for hate," and a lot of that hate was targeted towards Muslims.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, 2016 also saw the highest number of anti-Muslim hate groups and the greatest surge in the number of such groups since the center began documenting them in 2010. 

Other studies revealed that in 2016, Anti-Muslim hate groups increased by 197 percent over the course of one year. 

There were 34 anti-Muslim hate groups in the U.S. in 2015. That number tripled to a whopping 101 groups in 2016, a surge of 197 percent – the greatest increase among all hate groups.