ELMONT, N.Y. (WPIX) – A New York woman who was disfigured and partially blinded in a horrific acid attack two years ago spoke out on Wednesday, after a reward for information in the case increased to $50,000.
But Nafiah Ikram, 23, of Long Island, said justice shouldn’t be dependent on financial incentives.
“It shouldn’t have to take money for you to be a good person at heart and just say, ‘D—, this girl is going through so much. Let me just have some mercy and tell police officers who did this, because that’s wrong,’” she said after a news conference regarding the case.
In her comments, Ikram spoke directly to her attacker — and to anyone who knows who the attacker is — in the unsolved mystery.
“Somebody knows something,” said Patrick Ryder, the Nassau County police commissioner. “We’re offering you up to $50,000 if you come forward with information that leads to the arrest.”
That reward has steadily increased since the first days after the attack on March 17, 2021, when $10,000 was offered for information in the case. It subsequently rose to $20,000, and then $30,000.
Around 7:40 p.m. on the night of the crime, the suspect ran up to Ikram in front of her home in Elmont and threw muriatic acid in her face. Police described the attacker as being 6 feet-2 inches tall, with a thin build, and wearing a dark hoodie and gloves.
That two-second attack, Ikram said, has changed her life in ways that are extremely painful. Anyone with any empathy who has information about the suspect needs to bring him to justice, she believes.
“I just recently had surgery where my sutures were so tight, I couldn’t even fit a straw in my mouth for almost a week,” she said. “I’ve had eight surgeries so far and I don’t know how many I’m still going to have to have.”
The suspect sped off in a red Nissan Altima, a 2013 to 2015 model, according to fliers sent out in both English and Arabic in the multi-ethnic Elmont community.
Ikram has been a part of that community for most of her life, but she said that she can’t be a full participant with this case still unresolved.
“I’m like, ‘Why am I this paranoid that someone’s gonna break in and attack me?'” she said. “It’s because that person is still out there. That’s what it comes down to … As a 23-year-old, think about how inhumane it feels to have to live your life like that.”
Ikram said that she wants the world to know how she’s doing, as part of an effort to stop acid attack crimes. About 1,200 of them are reported annually, according to Acid Survivors Trust International, a U.K.-based organization that monitors such crimes. The organization also estimates that an even greater number of attacks go unreported and that 80% of the attacks are on women, like Ikram.
“I’m grateful that my case came to this level so that in the future, I’ll be able to help other people that went through something traumatically like I did,” she said.