Police are investigating an alleged hate crime against a Muslim woman who says her head scarf was pulled by a supermarket shopper angry about the Fort Hood shootings.
Amal Abusumayah, 28, says she was shopping at a Tinley Park grocery store at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 7 when a middle-aged woman passed her in the aisle and made a loud reference to Fort Hood.
“She said, ‘The man that did that shooting in Texas was from the Middle East,’ in a really loud and angry voice,” Abusumayah said.
Minutes later, while Abusumayah was paying for her groceries, the woman approached her from behind and tugged hard on her blue and beige head scarf, she said.
“I turned around and looked at her, and she walked out of the store,” she said.
“My scarf didn’t come off because it was on very tight, but my head was tugged back.”
Abusumayah followed the woman into the lot and called police, who arrested the woman soon after, she said.
Abusumayah said she initially declined to press charges against the woman because she was “upset and confused,” but that she returned to press charges Sunday.
Tinley Park Police Chief Michael O’Connell said Friday his officers are investigating the incident as a “possible hate crime.”
“Pulling a woman’s head scarf is clearly a hate crime and should therefore be investigated as such,” said Christina Abraham, the Chicago civil rights director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Abusumayah was born in the U.S. and raised in Berwyn by Palestinian immigrants. “I had to report this incident because I don’t want this to happen to anyone else,” she said.
She said the shootings at Fort Hood, where 13 soldiers were killed by a Muslim U.S. soldier last week, were “very upsetting and very sad to me — as Muslims and Arabs we do not tolerate these kinds of actions.”
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