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C CAIR-FL In The News

Muslim American community braces for retaliation

By Courtney Robinson, For News 10, On 23 March 2016, Read Original
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Tampa, FL – About a week after a terror attack, the Florida chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations  says that’s when it started to learn about hate incidents against Muslim Americans.  The most vulnerable are women who wear the traditional Islamic head covering called a hijab.

“This tiny little fabric is causing so much hatred,” said Majda Rahmanovic.

Rahmanovic chooses to wear a hijab.  While it makes her comfortable in her faith, it also makes her a target.  The mother of an eight-month old boy says she’s been verbally attacked with her infant in her arms.

“People have yelled at me, ‘Go back where you came from!’ or ‘This is America, you don’t have to wear this,’” she said.

Rahmanovic is veiled, vulnerable, but not alone.  According to CAIR Florida the number of reported attacks against hijabi women typically double after terror attacks.  In December, there were two attacks against women in Tampa.

The director of civil rights for CAIR Florida, Thania Diaz Clevenger, says the group has spent time educating the Muslim community about their rights and safety.  She says non-Muslims can help keep their neighbors safe.

“It gets really ugly and so we just want to let people know these are our neighbors these are friends.  Please don't let yourself be incited by hatred and blinded," said Clevenger.

If you see something, Clevenger says take action.  CAIR Florida says you should call for help and if you can, take a picture of the person behind the attack and share that with police.

Rahmanovic shared another simple way to make a hijabi woman feel safe if you witness a verbal attack.  She says just ask the victim if she’s OK. 

“It's very emotional to have to constantly explain this. No, we are not terrorists.  No, we are not violent.  We are loving peaceful people.  We just want to live," said Rahmanovic.