A group of Muslim-American high school girls in Illinois became the latest to experience this tragic reality after a white patron at a Mexican restaurant launched a vile rant against the scarf-wearing teenagers, yelling cruel epithets as his wife sat and watched silently.
Sawin Osman, a 17-year-old born and raised in Chicago, was visiting Pepe's Mexican Restaurant in Hickory Hills for Iftar — the evening meal to end the daily Ramadan fasts — when an unidentified middle-aged man targeted her and her friends.
“We were walking past him on our way out of the restaurant. He yelled, ‘That girl could break a camel’s back,’” Osman told Yahoo News. “We stopped and said, ‘Excuse me, sir, what did you just say?’”
That’s when one of her friends took out her cell phone and began recording the incident.
“You can go and beat it. If you don’t like this country, leave,” the man said.
“It’s our home too. What do you mean leave?” Osman replied.
Instead of backing down, the man acted as if it wasn’t a big deal.
“I just said she’s a big one,” he added. “What’s the problem? Yeah, anything else?”
His answer prompted another of Osman’s friends call the man “disgusting,” after which he moved to get out of the booth.
The girls immediately left. The video showed the man screaming in the background, “F***ing goddamn, camel-jacking mother f***ing c***s.”
“It looked like he was going to get physical, so we all started to walk,” the young victim recalled.
Osman’s stepfather Sean Anthony, who is a professor of Islamic Studies at Ohio State University, shared the video of the altercation on Facebook. Teen’s mother Catherine Bronson also teaches Islamic Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
“We live in a very charged climate. I think the furor at the presidential level has sort of exacerbated this feeling and given a platform for those who might not have spoken out so aggressively,” Bronson said.
Hate crimes have been on a rise since Trump’s unexpected election win.
Recently, an incident of racial and religious harassment turned deadly in Oregon, Portland, after a white supremacist stabbed three men who stood up to his hate and bigotry.
Two of the heroic men died while one victim survived.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters