Twenty-three-year-old Joshua Scaggs is being held on $500,000 bond after he allegedly slashed the throat of a University of Illinois law school professor.
A witness tells police both the suspect and victim were seated in the waiting area of a train station in Champaign when the suspect jumped up and shouted "this is my country" and attacked the victim.
The attacker reportedly told police he thought the victim was Middle Eastern.
"It's something that we must take very seriously," said CAIR-Chicago executive director Ahmed M. Rehab. "CAIR-Chicago is very disturbed by this news. The Muslim community is disturbed. People of conscience are disturbed. We've called police to investigate it, and to prosecute it as a hate crime, because that's what it is."
An assistant state's attorney says he decided not to charge Scaggs with a hate crime because the other charges have stiffer penalties.