NYPD fails to record Islamophobic assault on a teenager

25th Sep 2020

Elham Asaad Buaras

A Muslim teenager who was spat and had urine thrown at her on by a group of men in New York has accused the New York Police Department (NYPD) of failing to file a report over the incident on August 9.

The 17-year-old was waiting at a bus stop on Zerga and Westchester in the Bronx when a group of teenagers began throwing empty bottles at her and other people at the bus stop.

Somaia Harrati – who is of Moroccan descent – said she approached the teenagers, who were at the subway platform overlooking the bus stop and asked them to stop, as she returned to her seat the group threw a bottle filled with urine at her.

The teenagers also yelled Islamophobic and disparaging slurs at her, including calling her “Bin Laden” and yelling “Allah Akbar” during the incident. The teenagers also made denigrating comments about her hijab.

Harrati called and waited on the NYPD; the teenagers entered the subway and left the scene. Clearly distressed and crying the teenager recorded a message on TikTok telling her followers “guys I just got harrassed for wearing a hijab…um he was throwing stuff at me and they were callig me Bin Laden…the cops don’t wanna come and I can’t go home.”

She captioned the clip, which has since been shared almost 140,000 times, ‘They threw piss on me guys while taking a video. Racism has to stop guys please spread awareness!!’

Once police arrived, they informed Harrati that there was nothing they could do and allegedly did not file a report. According to her, the responding officers did not provide her with any documentation or a police report number.

Legal Director for the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Ahmed Mohamed, branded the incident “disturbing on many levels”.
He asked the NYPD, “to explain to the Muslim community and the public why Somaia was not provided a complaint number which indicates that the officers did not write up the incident”.

“The NYPD must initiate a hate crimes probe. The Commission on Human Rights has a role to play in combating hate in our city, and we call on the Commission to raise awareness about Islamophobia and the struggles of Muslim women that chose to wear a hijab.

These teenagers need to learn that this conduct is unacceptable and make amends by sincerely apologizing to Somaia and engaging in education about Islam, Islamophobia, and the beauty of the hijab.”

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