The attacker, Nathan Gray, 34, walked into a Dunkin Donuts shop in Manhattan and asked for a cup of coffee before sitting next to the 21-year-old victim who was with a group of Muslim women, a store employee said.
"I gave him coffee and he said something to me about terrorists , but I couldn't hear what he was saying. He walked away from me and sat next to a group of Muslim women," the employee said.
He said Gray began talking to them and said "terrorists" and that he "hated Muslims" while the group tried to ignore him.
"One woman called him 'stupid', so he threw his hot coffee in her face. It was hot, hot coffee . She could have been burned! Then he swung his bag at her and it hit her in the face," the employee was quoted as saying by the 'New York Daily News'.
After the woman ran outside, Gray put her in a headlock, police said.
Gray has been charged with assault as a hate crime, police said, adding that the victim has refused medical attention.