By, Zohra Lasania
Muslim sisters in hijabs are frequently subjected to bigoted religious and racial slurs. At CAIR Pittsburgh we receive reports of such hate regularly. Some sisters prefer to ignore and walk away, to avoid escalation. But some sisters handle it well with a response that could educate the attacker.
We received one such report from a hijab wearing Muslimah who was at a Dollar General store check-out line. Consider that this sister is a native born American, and does not even look like an “immigrant”. A bigoted lady standing behind her got impatient and uttered a nasty remark about her hijab and asked her to go back to her country.
Our Muslimah, remained calm, and replied: “Maam, it is you who needs to get out of this country, because it seems you do not understand the rights of people in this country.” And she explained – “I am American born and raised here, and my country gives me the right to practice my religion. If you did not accept this, then you do not have a right to stay here. And you need to go back to where your ancestors came from. Your ancestors were immigrants themselves.”
Fortunately for our Muslimah, the manager of the store intervened, and apologized to her for the incident and walked the hate-spewing lady out the door.
We commend this sister for standing up for her rights, and giving a befitting reply in the face of bigotry and hate.
Our reminder to all Muslims, that if you are confronted with such a scenario, always remember your rights in this country under the Constitution of the United States; religious practice is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, and protected further by the Civil Rights Act.
Also remember that this country was built by immigrants. So being an immigrant is normal.
And always remember to report such incidents to CAIR Pittsburgh at -412-606-3601.