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CAIR Seeks Ethnic Intimidation Charge for Harassment of NC Muslim Children, Mother

CAIR-logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/17/14) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today called on North Carolina law enforcement authorities to charge an individual who allegedly harassed a Muslim family in a grocery store with ethnic intimidation.

The mother, who wears an Islamic headscarf (hijab), reported to CAIR that she was shopping with her three young children at a Harris Teeter store in Raleigh, N.C., on the evening of June 9 when she heard a man shouting “We speak English here, do you speak English?” “Hey, I said we speak English, do you hear me?” and “Get out of my damn country.”

According to the mother, the white male in his late 40s or early 50s allegedly knelt down to the level of her four-year-old and shouted “Go on, get out of here” and “We speak English here” while raising his arms and pointing in the direction of the door. He repeatedly shouted statements like, “Hey, did you hear me, get out of here, go on, go back to your damn country.”

She said several Harris Teeter employees failed to protect the Muslim customer and her children from the man's verbal assault. The mother called police, who arrived on the scene but failed to take any action against the harasser.

CAIR has asked Harris Teeter to preserve any video surveillance of the incident.

Since the incident, the four-year-old child told his parents that he is scared that the “bad man” is going to yell at him again. He keeps asking his father, “You're not going to let the bad man hurt me, right, baba (father)?”

We believe any four-year-old child would have a reasonable fear of immediate bodily harm by this individual,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “Local and state law enforcement authorities must investigate this incident and consider bringing a charge of ethnic intimidation against the alleged perpetrator.”

pplication of North Carolina's ethnic intimidation statute (14-401.14) depends on whether a “reasonable person” would interpret a communication to be a threat. That law states: “If a person shall, because of race, color, religion, nationality, or country of origin, assault another person, or damage or deface the property of another person, or threaten to do any such act, he shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.”

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.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Manager Amina Rubin, 202-341-4171, arubin@cair.com

 

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