(COLUMBIA, MO – 6/27/2019) – The Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Missouri) today called on law enforcement authorities to investigate an incident involving a white male who allegedly pulled a gun on a Muslim mother and her two children at a gas station as a possible hate crime.
On June 24th, Heba Jassim, a Muslim woman who wears the hijab (Islamic head scarf), was driving near the Islamic Center of Columbia Missouri when a white male driving a gold Buick sedan quickly approached her from behind.
The driver passed her car and gave her the middle finger. Jassim dismissed the incident as road rage until the man, after passing her, slowed down and began following her vehicle. She then drove to the Midwest Petroleum gas station on Providence Road. The man sped up his vehicle and stopped right next to her car. He taunted her and gave her the middle finger again. Jassim asked the man, “are you threatening me?”. He responded by saying “yes”, pulling out a gun and pointing it at her and her two children. She then took out her phone and called the police. The other driver sped away.
“We believe that what started out as a road rage incident quickly escalated to a possible hate crime, as the man seemed to only target her after he saw that she wore hijab,” said Faizan Syed, executive director of CAIR-Missouri. “We call on city officials and the police department to investigate this case thoroughly and to see if a hate crime has occurred.”
He said Jassim believes she was targeted because she wears the Hijab. Community members have reached out to the mayor’s office and have met with the chief of police to discuss the incident.
Community members hope to discuss the safety and security of the Columbia Muslim community given the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes.
The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR-Missouri Executive Director Faizan Syed, 314-403-3626, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com