BENSONHURST – In another act of Islamophobia in the borough, a woman shouted hateful remarks to a young Muslim girl on a bus, proceeded to spit on her, and then ended it with throwing her cup of soda at her.
On Friday, August 23 at around 5:40 p.m., an 18-year-old girl wearing a hijab was seated on the B6 bus. All of a sudden, a lady began to say anti-Muslim statements to her. The lady told the girl, “Go back to your country” and “What is that rag on your head?”
The lady then spat on the girl and threw her cup of soda at her before exiting the bus at Bay Ridge Parkway and Bay Parkway.
Cops describe the lady as a white woman, approximately 5’5″, weighing approximately 200 lbs. with brown hair. She was last seen wearing glasses, a gray t-shirt, gray sweatpants, and black sneakers. This incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
“All hate speech and hate actions must be condemned,” Assembly Member William Colton said about the crime. He was one of the first elected officials to do so.
“This crime of Islamophobia against an 18-year-old girl on a B6 bus threatens all people. We must all stand together in denouncing it and demanding a full prosecution of the person responsible.”
Muslim Community Patrol & Services told Bklyner they’ll be doing extra patrols in that area after many neighbors reached out following the incident.
“Neighboring community members have actually reached out to MCPS to patrol that area more often since that incident,” MCPS said. “We will be actively following up on reports of hate crimes and creating more routes for patrol in that area.”
Borough President Eric Adams had this to say: “I’ve said before and I will say again: hate has no place in Brooklyn. We were all shocked to hear of a woman verbally and physically assaulting a Muslim girl on the B6 bus over the weekend.”
“It’s a disgrace to make such hateful, Islamophobic statements. It’s a crime to spit on people and throw cups at them. Either way, this attack is reprehensible, and we must all forcefully condemn it.”
This incident, as horrible as it is, is sadly not a big surprise. Islamophobia has been on the rise since 2017. Brooklyn is not immune to the anti-Muslim activity either. And it seems like buses are the way to go.
In July of 2017, a woman shouted Islamophobic remarks to a Muslim lady on the S53 going from Bay Ridge to Staten Island. She said, “I’m getting into a fight with some Muslim chick because she has an attitude because she thinks she has rights that she doesn’t have… Immigration at the door. Oh, is that ICE?”
Just two months ago, someone scrawled “Kill Arabs” at a B44 bus shelter.
“The safety of our riders is our No. 1 priority. No one should ever feel threatened, anywhere within the MTA system,” an MTA spokesperson told Bklyner. “We urge anyone who feels unsafe on a bus or train to notify our personnel or the police immediately.”
According to the NYC Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) this incident on Friday is referred to as discriminatory harassment, which occurs when “someone uses physical force — or threatens to use physical force — against a victim because of their protected status, and knowingly intimidates, injures or interferes with a legal right of the victim.”
In 2017, CCHR conducted a survey of 3100 Muslim, Arab, South Asian, Jewish, and Sikh New Yorkers to understand more the kind of bias and discriminatory harassment they faced leading up to and following the 2016 election. They found that forty percent reported experiencing verbal harassment and nine percent reported a physical assault.
“The Commission strongly encourages anyone who believes that they have been a victim of discriminatory harassment to contact the NYC Commission on Human Rights by calling 311 or calling us directly at 718-722-3131,” CCHR told Bklyner. “We can also be contacted via webform.”
Dr. Debbie Almontaser, a community leader and activist, told Bklyner she was disturbed to hear about another incident of hate in her borough.
“What happened to this young Muslim woman should never happen to anyone! I urge the NYPD to go above and beyond the call of duty to arrest this woman and not only charge her with aggravated assault but also hate crime charges!” she said. “We must make an example of this woman and anyone engaging in a hate crime incident to illustrate there is zero tolerance in NYC for any kind of hate.”
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer agreed. “This Islamophobic behavior is disgusting and unacceptable,” Stringer told Bklyner. “Embracing religious diversity is at the core of who we are as New Yorkers and nobody should ever be subjected to this kind of hate. I strongly condemn this bigotry and urge anyone with information to contact the NYPD.”
We reached out to the District’s council member Kalman Yeger for comment a few times but did not receive one.
Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.