(LOS ANGELES, CA – 2/20/2019) – The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today condemned anti-Muslim slurs reportedly used against an Uber driver by a passenger and calls for the transportation network to reinstate the driver to its app.
According to an interview the driver gave to KABC/7 on Monday night, the passengers became agitated during a 90-minute trip from Los Angeles International Airport to Orange County and used anti-Muslim and racial slurs when the driver would not increase her speed. The incident occurred approximately two weeks ago.
The driver, identified as “Bebe,” said the passengers became angry after she would not increase her speed. “I was scared. I was terrified in my own car,” she said. “I was trying to do my work.” Bebe said her passengers then began smoking marijuana and when she threatened to call the police, began to call her names.
“She was calling me names (such as) ”˜You stupid Muslim. You stupid Arabic,’” the driver said.
One of the irate passengers was recorded on video calling the driver an “expletive Muslim” as she exited the vehicle. Bebe said she contacted Uber support and instead of standing behind the driver, she said she received a message that she was being placed on suspension.
KABC/7 quoted an Uber spokesperson who said Bebe was removed from service due to a repeated history of interpersonal conflicts with passengers.
WATCH: Orange County Uber Driver Says Passengers Used Anti-Muslim Slurs During Ride From LAX
“It is horrible that a woman attempting to make a living had to be subjected to hate speech and was made to feel unsafe in her own car,” said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. “The current political climate has empowered bigots to turn their thoughts into speech and even worse, into action. Thankfully, this situation did not turn into something worse.”
Ayloush also criticized Uber for suspending the driver.
“If Uber truly believes discriminatory language is unacceptable, then suspending the driver immediately after she reported an incident of bias is the wrong way to show it,” he said. “We call on Uber to show it supports its drivers by reinstating Bebe.”
In 2017, Muslims were targeted in 13 percent of the reported hate crimes in Orange County, which was more than any other group, according to a report by the Orange County Human Relations Commission. According to the commission’s report, the percentage rose to 16 percent when combined with crimes against Middle Eastern individuals.
READ: OC Human Relations Commission 2017 Hate Crimes Report
Anti-Muslim bias incidents are also on the rise throughout the state. CAIR California (CAIR-CA) found a marked rise in anti-Muslim bias incidents in California in 2017, as detailed in its Civil Rights Report. CAIR-CA recorded an 8 percent increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents in 2017 compared to 2016.
READ: 2018 CAIR-CA Civil Rights Report
Ayloush urged community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR-LA’s Civil Rights Department at 714-776-1177 or by filing a report at: https://bit.ly/2L9Ezsw.
CAIR-LA is Southern California’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice and empower American Muslims.
– END –
CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Manager Eugene W. Fields, 714-776-1847 or firstname.lastname@example.org