Police probe attack on Muslim woman

November 18, 2009 4:07:56 PM PST
Police in a southwest suburb are investigating a case involving a Muslim woman as a possible hate crime. The woman says someone in a grocery store tried to pull off her headscarf and made a derogatory comment about Islam.

The comment referred to the suspect in the Fort Hood shootings. The alleged incident happened in Tinley Park two days after the massacre. The woman involved says it was a personal and physical attack on her religion because her headscarf is a symbol of her dignity and her faith.

"I was very confused and very upset that something like this would happen," said Amal Abusumayah. "This is my first experience so I was very devastated at having something like this happening to me."

Abusumayah says she was shopping in a Jewel Saturday when she says the woman shouted that a Muslim committed the November 5 Fort Hood shootings.

Later, as she was paying for her groceries, she says the woman yanked at her headscarf.

Abusumayah says she called police, who questioned her and the other woman.

"My headscarf, it symbolizes my religion of Islam, and it's my dignity," Abusumayah said.

"We think it's a very alarming and disappointing development," said Ahmed Rehab, Council on American Islamic Relations

Rehab says his group opposes Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and any attacks based on race, color or faith. He called Abusumayah a hate crime victim.

"The person who perpetrated the attack made a comment about her religious heritage and proceeded to engage in an act of battery," Rehab said.

Rehab says there have been other incidents involving Muslims in the Chicago area and nation in the past week.

"We've been seeing a flurry of discriminatory behavior, if not hate crimes, around the country after the Fort Hood shootings," he said.


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