Carmen Delrio with her granddaughter Kayleigh Arroyo, 1, police Officer Aml Elsokary carried the baby while helping Delrio out of the burning building. (Photo: NYPD)
Elham Asaad Buaras
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, has publicly praised a decorated police officer for her service after she was threatened for wearing a hijab while off duty.
Aml Elsokary who has been patrolling the street of New York for 11 years, was off duty when she noticed a man arguing with a teenager on December 3. When Elsokary intervened, the man allegedly turned to her and said: “ISIS [expletive], I will cut your throat, go back to your country,” before running off.
In a news conference on December 6, de Blasio said: “I was sick to my stomach when I heard one of our officers was subjected to threats and taunting, simply because of her faith.
“Now, it makes no difference to me whether she was off duty or on duty at the time. She serves this city. She is an example of everything we would want from our fellow citizens: a commitment to other, a commitment to service.
“[She has] a willingness to do something greater than herself and what does she get for it? Threats to her life and bigotry taunts.
“We can’t allow this. It’s unacceptable in this city. It’s unacceptable in this nation. And it’s important to put a human face to this story which is why I wanted you to meet Officer Elsokary.”
De Blasio added the 34-year-old was one of 900 Muslim officers serving in the NYPD. She was also praised for her actions on April 10, 2014, when she helped save a baby girl and an elderly man from a burning building in Brooklyn.
Police Commissioner James O’Neil said he first met Elsokary, “about two years ago after her rescue. I met her in the emergency room at Woodhull Hospital where she was being treated – she and her partner were being treated for smoke inhalation.”
“I’d just like to say – to thank you for everything that you do every day in the 9-0 in Williamsburg and for keeping the people of this great city safe. You and your partner did a tremendous job that day and you do a tremendous job every day”.
Elsokary said: “I help everybody no matter what your religion is. I’m born and raised here and I am here to protect you all. The department has supported me in wearing my hijab and I want to thank my Muslim officers for standing by my side.”
She also thanked the Mayor and the Commissioner for their “constant support.”
“The department has supported me wearing my hijab, stood with me by my side. I want to thank my Muslim Officer Society for also standing by my side and being supportive, and everybody that has contacted me” said Elsokary.
The NYPD arrested Christopher Nelson, 36, and charged him with menacing as a hate crime and aggravated harassment. His bail was set at $50,000.
According to NYPD Chief of Detectives, Bob Boyce, hate crimes are up by 35 percent since the election of Donald Trump.
De Blasio said: “She had to experience a man allegedly yelling at her, ‘Go back to your country.’ Well, this is Officer Elsokary’s country. She is an American. She is a New Yorker. She’s already at home.
“So I want the city of New York to see the face of this public servant, this crime fighter, this person who decided that her mission was to serve the rest of us.”
Council on American-Islamic Relations-NY, Executive Director, Afaf Nasher, told The Muslim News that, “While Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo both have publicly stated that hate has no place in New York, the number of bias-related attacks continues to climb.”
She added, “President-elect Trump must forcefully and repeatedly address the ugly hatred growing rampant throughout our nation. His rhetoric had encouraged hate, racism, and xenophobia, and innocent people are being assaulted across our country as a result.”