Press Releases

CAIR-NY Files Discrimination Complaint Over MTA Employee’s Mistreatment of Muslim Traveler

African-American Muslim Woman told ”˜I don’t answer questions from people who look like you,’ CAIR-NY asks public to share their #myMTAstory

(NEW YORK, N.Y., 7/30/2019) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced the filing of a discrimination complaint with the New York City Human Rights Commission against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“MTA”) for refusing service to Leitoya Dixon, an African-American Muslim who wears a hijab (religious headscarf).   

SEE Discrimination Complaint Against MTA For Denial of Services

According to the discrimination complaint, on May 7, 2019, during the holy month of Ramadan, Dixon requested assistance locating her train from two MTA agents at Penn Station. The agents refused to assist her, causing her to miss her train. One of the agents told her “I don’t answer questions from people who look like you.” Another MTA employee reportedly informed Dixon that this is not the first time that the agent had discriminated against customers. As a result of her experience with MTA, Dixon no longer feels comfortable or safe wearing her hijab in public.

“I am an unapologetically proud African-American Muslim woman who wears a hijab,” said Ms. Dixon, the complainant. “Still, it took time to feel that same pride after I was humiliated and denied service by MTA during Ramadan, my holy month. The promise of America is one of freedom and equality for all people, including me, but that seems to be lost on the MTA. I am a woman, a mother, and a human being who just wants to make it home to her family like everyone else.”

“New York City prides itself on being an epicenter of diversity and social justice, yet the MTA’s actions in this case diametrically oppose that ideal,” said Princess Masilungan, CAIR-NY’s legal fellow. “We are grateful that Ms. Dixon had the courage to stand up against the discrimination she experienced, and now it is up to us and the Commission to hold the MTA accountable and ensure that it does not sweep Ms. Dixon’s complaint under the rug.”

In a show of solidarity and to bring attention to similar discriminatory issues at the MTA, CAIR-NY is asking New Yorkers to share their #myMTAstory on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). 

New Yorkers may also contact CAIR-NY for assistance by filing an incident report online at or call 646.665.7599.  

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

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


CONTACT: CAIR-NY Litigation Director Ahmed Mohamed,, 646-481-2103; CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher,, 917-669-4006


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