On March 3, 2016, my friends and I experienced a horrible incident. After finishing school, we took the light rail headed to Penn Station. There was a man sitting behind us on the train. He started verbally abusing us and cursing us out. My friend turned around to see what’s going on, and then turned back. My friends and I wear a headscarf.
The man stood up and yelled, “Why are you staring at me, huh? Why are you staring at me you F***ing Muslim b**ch?!” And then he spat on her.
All of the passengers on the train clearly witnessed what happened, but no one said or did anything to stop him.
My friends and I got up and moved to the front of the train away from the guy. One friend was crying. We were afraid and didn’t know what to do. We went to the conductor, opened the door and told him what happened. (We realized later that we were not supposed to open the conductor’s door.)
When we got to Penn Station, we talked to the police and they arrested the man.
I remember sitting in the police station just thinking to myself that this is just the beginning of something horrible. The curses and the spit were hurtful, but it was equally hurtful to realize that there were so many witnesses to this hate crime who chose to do nothing about it.
The current anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S. scares me. I am also scared of the outcomes of the upcoming presidential elections. Could this kind of behavior actually become legal? I’m still shocked that people saw us going through this and did nothing about it.
Yasmeen Alsaker, NJ
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