A young Muslim woman says she was harassed by two people while riding a bus in Bellerose on Thursday because she wore her hijab.
Fariha Nizam described her experience on board the Q43 bus on the morning of Thursday, Nov. 10, in a lengthy Facebook post that has been shared more than 1,500 times as of Saturday morning.
Nizam’s ordeal was one in a host of reported incidents of harassment of Muslims, African-Americans, Hispanics, members of the LGBT community and others since Donald Trump was elected to the presidency. This included the alleged harassment of public school students by pupils from St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, an incident that the school’s principal publicly condemned.
Regarding the incident involving Nizam, the young resident said she was riding the bus en route to her internship when a couple whom she described as white and possibly “middle-aged and elderly” boarded the bus and came toward her.
“The two of them started yelling at me, shouting to me to take off my hijab,” Nizam wrote, referring to the traditional headdress many Muslim women wear, “yelling that it is not allowed anymore.”
She burst into tears, but the couple continued their yelling: “They started yelling at me and telling me to take off the disgusting piece of cloth on my head, saying that it wasn’t allowed anymore.”
Other passengers on board the bus began yelling at the couple to leave her alone “and people began fighting,” according to Nizam. The woman who initially yelled at her then came close and attempted to grab the hijab off Nizam’s head. Nizam eventually got off the bus in tears and walked home.
“I never imagined, not even for one f***ing moment in my life, that peace of mind is not a basic human right,” Nizam wrote. “I never imagined that security and safety were asking too much of a country that claims to be oh so concerned with opportunity, liberty and love.”
She went on to state that she would never forgive those who voted for Trump — who has proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States — for stirring up the hatred that resulted in her being harassed for being Muslim.
“I used to be so happy to call myself a Bengali-American, or a Muslim-American, or an American woman. YOU have stripped me of my identity to its core,” she wrote. “You have violated each and every part of the person that I am, my beautiful religion, my perfect gender identity, and my lovely position as the daughter of immigrants.”
Gothamist first reported the story.