Last month, an Iraqi refugee in Cleveland, Ohio, who has lived in the United States for the past four years, was the victim of an incredibly racist, mostly verbal attack. The victim, ride-sharing driver Ahmed Al Zubaidi, has now hired an attorney and is currently pressing charges against his passenger perpetrator for verbal abuse, according to a Fox 8 News Cleveland report from Tuesday. The specific company he worked for is unknown.
Al Zubaidi captured the moment on his cell phone when his unnamed passenger lashed out at him for parking at a fast food restaurant instead of choosing to use the drive-thru. Apparently, the drive-thru line was pretty long. His passenger was so angry at him that she punched him in the chest after exiting the vehicle, although that particular incident wasn’t shown in the video.
What can be seen and heard in the video is incredibly insulting and denigrating to Al Zubaidi, and, at times, doesn’t even make sense. She yelled at him the incoherent comment, "send this to your f****** friends in jihad!" She also added death threats, which were very clearly stated, such as, "I'll f***** kill you" and "…bury you before anyone knows that you're gone."
Al Zubaidi’s attorney, Ali Mustafa, explained that his client recognizes the underlying roots of the Islamophobia which were pitted against him that night, considering that his home country is one of the centers of the United States war against terror.
Mustafa said, "We all understand that there are issues out there in the world that cause people to have a different view at a class, or a majority of different people, with rightful reason, because of what is going on in the world. But here in Cleveland, we don't have that and a lot of people get along.”
It is unclear from the Fox 8 report whether or not the woman who caused the altercation will be indicted for a hate crime or for assault, or either. The Federal Bureau of Investigation doesn’t consider “hate” itself to be a crime. While most speech is protected by the First Amendment, threats of physical harm—such as her death threats—aren’t.
Banner photo credit: YouTube, Fox 8 News Cleveland