Raneem Hassan decided to spend her first day of vacation shopping at the Melbourne Square Mall in Melbourne, Florida. It all went south when she was approached by a bathtub vendor. Hassan was asked if she would like to purchase a bathtub and when she refused the vendor asked her why she “wears that” pointing to her hijab. Hassan answered it was part of her faith when the vendor angrily responded “No! It’s culture!” Hassan kindly informed the vendor it was part of her faith and attempted to walk away.
The vendor then said “You’re in America!” As Hassan continued to walk away she tells the vendor she will continue to practice her religion regardless of where she is. The vendor follows Hassan and steps in front of her and tells her to remove her hijab and “look like us Americans”. Hassan retorted by telling the vendor to move from her personal space and added that she is American and entitled to her personal beliefs.
Hassan managed to get away from the vendor and enter Macy’s. As Hassan left the department store the vendor was waiting at the exact spot where she entered and proceeded to follow her. The vendor asked Hassan why there are so many of them (Muslims) in the United States and that they should do that (cover their heads) back home. Hassan, feeling uncomfortable due to the harassment, hurriedly left the mall hoping the vendor would not follow her to her car. Luckily, the vendor stayed inside of the mall and the harassment ended there.
Hassan is filing a complaint with the customer service department of the Melbourne Square Mall. Muslims should be able to shop without harassment from store owners, vendors, or consumers.
Unfortunately Islamophobia is on the rise in the United States and Muslim women must be aware of their surroundings at all time. With all of the hate crimes towards Muslim women in the past few weeks I am happy to report that Hassan was not physically injured, but must point out the seriousness of such harassment.
Archive for November, 2015
While reflecting upon Domestic Violence Awareness Month I’d like to make this post about what it was like discussing this topic. As I mentioned in the very first post about my experience, I sensed a very high level of anxiety. Once I made the post public the nervousness did not subside. I questioned whether it was the right thing to do until I began to receive messages on Facebook from other women who had similar experiences. It was at that point that I forgot about how anxious I felt. As the messages continued I felt more and more compelled to speak up. It wasn’t easy but I felt it had to be done. When I heard stories about women who died at the hands of their abusers I felt nothing but the need to continue these posts.
Although much of the feedback was positive and from women who had the courage to escape their abusive mates there were some negative responses. Some left very nasty comments on my posts. Profanity and racial slurs were thrown at me. Although my posts were aimed at spreading awareness about domestic violence some individuals did not appreciate that. I could only imagine they themselves are abusers or the ones who defend this type of behavior. Regardless, I did not let it stop me from discussing an issue that affects so many around the world.
Throughout the month I came across many posts about domestic violence and was very pleased to see more community leaders speaking up but honestly I think it should be more. Now that this issue is brought to light we can not continue ignoring it. Too many are suffering in silence. Too many are afraid to speak up. Too many feel there is no point in speaking with an Imam because they have been let down in the past. Too many feel the ill treatment is a better option rather than bring “shame” to their families. This type of thinking is problematic and we have to be the ones to change the way domestic violence is viewed in our communities.
With that being said, I strongly suggest we continue to discuss domestic violence in the Muslim community. As mentioned in a previous post, we have the best example of how to treat our spouses. Violence has no place in the home of a believer. Now that the discussion is open let’s not close it because Domestic Violence Awareness month is over. The purpose was to spread awareness and encourage those currently in an abusive relationship to seek help. There is help. There is a life of peace. There is a life without your spouse using you as a punching bag. There is a life where you do not have to walk on eggshells out of fear of an explosion. There is life of happiness once you decide abuse is not acceptable.
In closing, I would like to remind all of my readers to take what you now know about domestic violence and remember we all have a role to play in helping those who are oppressed. May we all be protected from violence in our homes. May we all feel the need to defend those who live under such circumstances. May we all stop closing our eyes when know of abuse. May we all speak up and end the silence on domestic violence.