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CAIR-NY Calls for Hate Crimes Probe and Commission on Human Rights to Raise Awareness on Islamophobia After Muslim Teenager Targeted in Islamophobic Incident

(NEW YORK, NY, 08/14/2020) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on the NYPD to initiate a hate crimes probe after a teenage woman wearing a hijab was assaulted with a bottle of urine and Islamophobic slurs. The Civil Rights organization also called on the Commission on Human Rights to increase awareness on Islamophobia to stem the tide of bias incidents. 

The victim of the alleged incident is Somaia Harrati, a 17-year-old American Moroccan Muslim woman that wears hijab, a religious head covering. According to the victim, on August 10 while waiting at a bus stop on Zerga and Westchester in the Bronx, young teenagers began throwing empty bottles at her and the small group of individuals at the bus stop. Ms. Harrati approached the teenagers, who were at the subway platform overlooking the bus stop and asked them to stop their conduct. Once Ms. Harrati returned to the bus stop, the teenagers threw a bottle of Mountain Dew that was filled with urine at her.  The teenagers yelled at Harrati that the bottled was filled with urine. The teenagers yelled Islamphobic and disparaging slurs at Ms. Harrati, including calling her “Bin Laden” and yelling “Allah Akbar” during the incident.  The teenagers also made denigrating comments about Ms. Harrati’s hijab. 

While Ms. Harrati called and waited on the NYPD, the teenagers entered the subway and left the scene.  Once police arrived, they informed Ms. Harrati that there was nothing they could do and allegedly did not file a report.  According to Ms. Harrati, the responding officers did not provide her any documentation or a police report number. 

See: https://www.middleeasteye.net/video/american-moroccan-muslim-woman-targeted-islamophobic-attack

CAIR-NY Legal Director Ahmed Mohamed states:

“This incident is very disturbing on many levels. The NYPD needs to explain to the Muslim community and the public why Somaia was not provided a complaint number which indicates that the officers did not write up the incident. It is important for incidents like this to be appropriately classified. Accordingly, the NYPD must initiate a hate crimes probe. The Commission on Human Rights has a role to play in combating hate in our city, and we call on the Commission to raise awareness about Islamophobia and the struggles of Muslim women that chose to wear a hijab. These teenagers need to learn that this conduct is unacceptable and make amends by sincerely apologizing to Somaia and engaging in education about Islam, Islamophobia, and the beauty of the hijab.”

CAIR-NY’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR-NY es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

 END

CONTACT: CAIR-NY Litigation Director Ahmed Mohamed, ahmedmohamed@cair.com, 646-481-2103; CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher, anasher@cair.com, 917-669-4006.

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