Muslim Woman Attacked for Wearing headscarf

(CHICAGO, 11/13/09) -CAIR-Chicago announced today that it has reached out to the FBI on behalf of a Muslim woman who was a victim of a hate crime and had her headscarf pulled at her local grocery store. The Muslim woman, Amal Abusumayah of Tinley Park, IL, was shopping at Jewel when a middle aged woman shouted comments to a companion about the Ford Hood shootings being perpetrated by a Muslim. Abusumayah ignored the comments and continued her shopping. Later, as Abusumayah was checking out and putting items into her bag, the same woman came from behind her and tightly pulled her scarf.

Abusumayah called police right away. Although she was initially unsure of whether she wanted to press charges she eventually decided to do so. Tinley Park police told her they need to investigate before charging the woman and that the state's attorney would decide whether to prosecute this as a hate crime. CAIR-Chicago has reached out to the FBI to involve them in the matter. Since certain hate crimes can be prosecuted as federal crimes, CAIR-Chicago routinely contacts the FBI in such cases.

“Pulling a Muslim woman's headscarf is clearly a hate crime and should therefore be treated as such,” advised CAIR-Chicago Civil Rights Director Christina Abraham.

“I expect Tinley Park police and federal investigators to thoroughly examine the incident and vindicate this woman. Racial and religious discrimination shall not be tolerated in our pluralistic society,” said Abraham.

CAIR-Chicago is a chapter of America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR-Chicago, 202.870.0166; E-Mail: arehab@cair.com Amina Sharif, Communications Coordinator, CAIR-Chicago, 312.212.1520 or 630.935.5562; E-Mail: asharif@cair.com