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Bangladesh-origin Muslim woman reports hijab harassment in Queens, NY, following US polls
Sunday, 20 November 2016

A 19-year-old Muslim girl alleged that a white couple shouted at her to take off her hijab as she rode a bus in Queens – days after Donald Trump, who called for banning Muslims from the country during his campaign, was elected as the USA President.

Fariha Nizam, a sophomore at Hunter College, said she was riding the Q43 into Manhattan on Thursday morning when a white middle-aged couple boarded the bus and began verbally attacking her, according to her Facebook post that went viral with more than 1,550 shares.

Her parents migrated from Bangladesh and have been living in Bellerose, Queens since she was a fourth grader.

“The two of them started yelling at me, shouting to me to take off my hijab, yelling that it is not allowed anymore. My reaction, complete fear and anxiety. I broke out into tears, frustrated at myself for exhibiting so much weakness but unable to do anything else,” she writes.

She adds, “I was crying incessantly, looking away, but they did not stop. They started yelling at me and telling me to take off the disgusting piece of cloth on my head, saying that it wasn’t allowed anymore.”

“The woman got angrier and came closer towards me, attempting to grab my hijab and yank it off of me. I was so scared, compelling myself to calm down so that I could move away. I got off the bus, and walked home from where I was, crying the whole way home.”

Though other commuters yelled at the couple to leave her alone, it did not stop the woman from trying to yank the hijab off Nizam’s head, she said.

Nizam believes the abuse was directly related to Islamophobia stoked during Trump’s campaign, reports New York Daily News.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) did not also help her during the incident, she said.

he Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a non-profit group that tracks and litigates hate crimes in the United States, released a report on Friday that there had been “201 incidents of election-related harassment and intimidation” since the election on Tuesday night, reports NY magazine The Cut.

“These range from anti-Black to anti-woman to anti-LGBT incidents. There were many examples of vandalism and epithets directed at individuals. Often times, types of harassment overlapped and many incidents, though not all, involved direct references to the Trump campaign,” the SPLC reported. Some reports were sent directly to the SPLC.

After the San Bernardino shooting in December, the President-elect called for all Muslims to be banned from entering the country.

Trump also belittled the parents of Muslim-American war hero Capt Humayun Khan after they spoke out against him – suggesting that Khan’s mother Ghazala was not allowed to speak because she was Muslim.

“I’ve never encountered something like that until after the election,” said Nizam, who has been taking the bus for years without incident.

She did not immediately report the incident to police, but said on Friday evening she planned to report the abuse to the authorities.

Victims of a hate crime can report it at their local police precinct and the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit.

She said the traumatic episode would not stop her from wearing her hijab.

“Honestly, despite everything that’s happened, for myself at the very least, it’s something that has never crossed my mind,” she said.