The last time she was called a terrorist, Eman* was drinking coffee in a to-go cup and waiting for the train at the Powell Street BART Station in San Francisco. It was rush hour, and dozens of morning commuters stood near the Mission High School senior from Yemen.
She froze in fear when an older commuter in a suit and tie started yelling at her for wearing hijab and drinking coffee. “Why do you drink this? This is not your culture,” she recalls him saying first. “Eat your own food if you want to wear the scarf!” The anti-Islam insults worsened, continuing until the train came, she says. Not one adult near her said anything to the man in the suit.
“Maybe they didn’t hear it?” I ask Eman, who today is wearing a light blue headscarf with silver stitching around the edges. “They heard it,” she assures me. “The man was yelling, and most people were looking at me. One person was even smiling.”
Actually, all those new anti-Muslim state laws started with a single white supremacist in Arizona. (Not that guy in the “Ground Zero Mosque” picture above, in case you were wondering.) MJ’s Tim Murphy tells the whole story.