Since the Paris attacks, on November 13, 2015, and the San Bernadino shootings, on December 2, the scourge of Islamophobia has become even more prevalent and public in the United States.
But, this post is not for the Islamophobes.
It is also not for the many non-Muslims in America who have spoken out against Islamophobia, since the shootings.
Instead, this list, one we are sad to be putting together at all, is for those who have remained silent — because silence in the face of bigotry is the worst kind of complicity. Though history has tried to teach us this lesson so many times, it is one many of us have yet to learn.
1. California woman attacks Muslims praying in park, “Allah is Satan and you are all murderers”
According to Rawstory, a California woman accosted a group of Muslims praying in a park earlier this week. In a video captured by one of the praying men, the woman screams, “The people you tortured, they’re going to spend eternity in heaven. You are very deceived by Satan. Your mind has been taken over — brainwashed — and you have nothing but hate, nothing but hate.”
#Islamophobia After praying, this lady approached us and started yelling at us that we’re brainwashed for believing in Allah, “Allah is evil” she said. I started video taping her, I ,also, was hit by an umbrella before taking a shower of coffee right on my face. And what happened next was this..
Posted by Rasheed Albeshari on Monday, December 7, 2015
After a park ranger intervened to try and defuse the situation, the woman attacked the man and his camera.
2. Man Accosted at Minnesota Vikings Game, Accused of Being a “Refugee”
When Deepinder Mayall arrived at a Minnesota stadium to watch his first NFL football game, he didn’t expect to be angrily accused of being a refugee. Mayall, who, ironically, works on refugee issues for a local human rights organization, was looking for his seat when a stranger stuck his finger in Mayall’s face, demanding to know whether he was a refugee. Mayall was born and raised in the United States, by the way.
“He needed to make sure I wasn’t a refugee, he said. There was anger in his face and vehemence in his accusation,” Mayall wrote in an op-ed about the incident published in The Star Tribune. For Mayall, the most traumatizing part of the experience was the reaction (or, rather, the lack of any reaction) from those around him:
In that moment, I was terrified. But what scared me the most was the silence surrounding me. As I looked around, I didn’t know who was an ally or an enemy. In those hushed whispers, I felt like I was alone, unsafe and surrounded. It was the type of silence that emboldens a man to play inquisitor. I thought about our national climate, in which some presidential candidates spew demagoguery and lies while others play politics and offer soft rebukes. It is the same species of silence that emboldened white supremacists to shoot five unarmed protesters recently in Minneapolis.
While it is unclear whether Mayall is Muslim (not that it matters) or when exactly the incident occurred, the attacker was clearly driven by anti-Muslim intolerance and likely fueled by an atmosphere where being brown, a refugee, and Muslim are regularly conflated.
3. Muslim Store Owner Beaten in NYC by Man on “Mission to Kill Muslims”
According to Rawstory, Sarker Haque, a Muslim store owner in the Manhattan burrough of Queens, reported being attacked over the weekend of December 5-6 by someone determined to kill Muslims. As Rawstory reports, Haque provided this description of his ordeal to a local media station:
“He punched me here,” Haque recalled, motioning toward an ice cream cooler. “I fell down here… I say, ‘What the hell you doing? What’s wrong with you?’ [The attacker] said, ‘I kill Muslims.'”
“He punched me as much as he can with his left hand,” the store owner added, choking back tears. “He grabbed me here. Then he punched me here.”
According to local news reports, another customer in the store intervened, pulled the attacker (one Piro Kolvani) off Haque, and held him down until police came. Another passerby called 9/11. Without their intervention, Haque may not have survived the attack.
4. Onlookers Sit in Silence as Young Muslim Girls Face Racist Attack at Austin Cafe
Another piece from Rawstory, this one about Leilah Abdennabi and Sirat Al-Nahi, two young Muslim women, wearing hijab, who were subjected to hate speech at a popular Austin cafe on the morning of Sunday, December 6. As they were waiting to be seated in the restaurant, a man came up to the two women, accused them of having a gun, and told them to just “shoot him.” In shock, the women asked him to repeat what he said, in the hopes someone in the restaurant would come to their defense. No one did. Humiliated and upset, the women decided to leave. Abdennabi recounted their exit from the restaurant for Rawstory:
“As we were leaving I told the people watching ‘Just so you know, we were told racist things and this restaurant doesn’t feel the need to address it because who cares about us?'” she noted. “Another white guy shouted ‘Nobody.'”
“We left,” Al-Nahi added. “Because it was true.”
“No one else said or did anything,” Abdennabi pointed out. “[A]nd that’s what makes these experiences 1000x worse is the people just silently watching.”
5. Pig Head Hurled at Philadelphia Mosque
On Tuesday, December 8, a Philadelphia mosque was vandalized when an unidentified individual threw a severed pig’s head at the building’s front door. While pork products are forbidden in Islam, launching one, grenade style, at a piece of property is an interesting way of expressing hatred for an entire religion.
According to CNN, “[p]olice are investigating whether the incident has any connection to a voicemail the mosque received last month, in which a male voice said: ‘Are you happy about what happened in France?’ ‘God is a pig’ and ‘God is Pork!'”
6. Muslim 6th Grader Punched at School, Called ISIS
This incident, coming only a few days after the Paris attacks, is perhaps one of the saddest for involving children and eliciting a lackluster police department response. As Rawstory reports:
[B]oys at the [New York City public] school called the 6th grade girl ‘ISIS.’ The girl was allegedly placed in a headlock and punched while the boys tried to rip off her hijab.
Although officers responded to the call, no police report was taken . . . .
7. Seattle Teen Allegedly Murdered in anti-Muslim Attack
Though the investigation is still on-going, friends of Hamza Warsame claim he was killed in an anti-Muslim attack. Warsame, sixteen, died on Saturday, December 5, after falling of the roof of a building. According to the Seattle Times, some are claiming “Warsame was a victim of an anti-Muslim hate crime and had been beaten by a Caucasian student before being thrown from the roof.”
8.ThinkProgress Has Documented over Thirty anti-Muslim Hate Crimes since the November 13 Paris shootings, and Counting. . . .
In addition to some of the incidents mentioned here, other highlights from the growing ThinkProgress list include:
Minneapolis, MN (12/2/2015) — Valarie Kaur, an attorney, lawyer, and regular guest on MSNBC, was asked to show her breast pump to fellow passengers on a Delta Airlines flight to “prove” she wasn’t a terrorist. Delta has since apologized.
New York City, NY (11/20/2015) — A postal worker was arrested on hate crime charges for spitting on two Muslim women, following them into a deli, and threatening to burn down their mosque. She was also called the woman “n**ger.”
That’s a federal civil servant people. Let’s also not forget this final, terrifying nugget:
Pittsburgh, PA (11/20/2015) — A cab driver reported that he picked up passenger, who proceeded to rant about Islam and ask the driver if he was Muslim. When they arrived at their destination, the passenger allegedly left to retrieve his wallet, only to return brandishing a rifle. The cab driver sped away, but the passenger reportedly fired two shots as he left — one of which shattered the back window, and another which struck the driver between his shoulder blades. He is currently recovering in the hospital.
Don’t just sit by as those around you are humiliated, attacked, or facing threats to their lives. Say something, do something before it’s too late.