A hijab-clad woman was allegedly accosted at a US store by another customer who called her a “terrorist” and told her to “get out” of the country, the latest in a series of hate incidents in which headscarf- wearing women have been targeted following Donald Trump’s win. The incident happened at Smith’s store in Albuquerque, New Mexico, CBS-affiliate KRQE television reported.
“I went down the aisle to go get sodas and then all of a sudden I hear somebody starting to yell at her (the hijab-clad woman),” Barney Lopez, an eyewitness, was quoted as saying. “And…saying things like ‘Get out of our country, you don’t belong here, you’re a terrorist!'” he said. At that point, Lopez said, practically everyone in the store stopped what they were doing and ran to the defence of the woman in hijab.
Lopez snapped a picture, albeit a bit shaky, of the person screaming at the woman in the hijab. The lady was wearing a hat and sunglasses. A Smith’s employee appeared to stand in the way to keep her back.
“There was even another woman that like went over to the woman in the hijab and put her arm around her and gave her hug and held her while the Smith’s employees came,” Barney said.
Employees shuffled the shouting lady out of the store, but Lopez said the screaming woman waited in the parking lot for the woman in the hijab to come out.
“So all the Smith’s employees gathered around this woman and escorted her to her car and helped her load her groceries,” he recalled. Lopez said while the incident was initially shocking and upsetting, he ultimately left the store feeling uplifted.
The US TV station called Smith’s to enquire about Wednesday’s incident and a manager confirmed what happened. The manager called the woman in the hijab “strong” in the face of the verbal attack. The Smith’s manager also said the woman in the hijab came back to the store later in the day to thank the employees. Police were called and reportedly got to the store after the yelling woman had left.
The incident comes amid a slew of intimidation and assault cases that have been reported across the country against hijab-clad women post election. Earlier this month, a Muslim student’s hijab was allegedly ripped off and her hair pulled down by a classmate at a school in Minnesota.
Also, a Muslim student of Michigan University was approached by an unidentified man who yelled at her and threatened to set her on fire if she did not remove her hijab, prompting police to probe the hate crime incident.
A Muslim high-school teacher in Georgia was also told to hang herself with her headscarf in a handwritten anonymous note she received in her classroom.