A southwest suburban woman who was charged with a hate crime against another woman pled guilty Tuesday and was sentenced to probation and mandatory anger management and diversity understanding classes, according to the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
“It gives her an opportunity to learn from her mistake,” said Christina Abraham of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “And we think this does send a message to the greater community that hate crimes are not going to be tolerated and that this sort of behavior is wrong.”
An official with the Chicago-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, which became involved in the case, said the backlash against Muslim-Americans had spiked somewhat in the days immediately following the Fort Hood shooting but has subsided.
“We try to rally community support for (victims and their families) and to make sure the state’s attorney is pursuing the case with the utmost importance,” said spokeswoman Christina Abraham.
“Hate crimes are their own class of crime for a very good reason: The enhanced classification and punishment deters people from criminally acting out on their bigotry. It is the government’s obligation to its citizens to take a no-tolerance position on such crimes,” writes Ahmed Rehab.
“Ironically, if those who are viscerally opposed to the sight of a hijabi actually took the time to look at the facts of her life, they may realize that hijabis make for a positive stereotype worthy of their admiration rather than a negative one they ought to fear,” writes Ahmed Rehab.
“More Muslim women like Abusumayah need to speak up,” said Amina Sharif. “If you keep quiet, the bigotry will only continue.”
“Usually after incidents like Fort Hood, there tends to be a spike in hate crimes,” said Christina Abraham. “Current events cause people to act out in bigotry.”
“I think (a charge of hate crime) sends the appropriate message that these kinds of race-based lash-outs are unacceptable,” said Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Every time something like (the Fort Hood shootings) happens, the Muslim community prepares for a backlash.”
Tinley Park has been the scene of two recent incidents targeting Muslims. Two days after the Fort Hood shootings, a Tinley Park woman allegedly yanked the head scarf off a local Muslim woman and made derogatory comments. A day later, a Muslim family found derogatory graffiti on their Tinley Park home.
Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he’s pleased with the arrest.
“I’m happy to see the Tinley Park Police Department is not one where hate gets a free pass,” he said. “No group of Americans is left behind when it comes to equality.”
“I was shaken up,” Abusumayah told the SouthtownStar about the Nov. 7 assault. “This is my dignity and this is my religion.”
Ahmed Rehab of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said his organization has reached out to the FBI to pursue federal charges.
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