A recent situation in which a man threw racial slurs and threats at a woman wearing the tradition Muslim hijab could see charges being filed against the man since he didn’t realize the target of his racism was actually a police officer with the NYPD. Her name was Officer Aml Elsokary, and she was a native citizen of New York City who decided to become a police officer after the events of September 11, 2001. The officer was off-duty at the time of the incident, and she was doing nothing but walking with her 16-year-old son through their Brooklyn neighborhood when a man approached them and started pushing her son.
Elsokary intervened right away, and during the altercation the man threatened to slit her throat while he referenced ISIS. According to Elsokary, this was the first instance of such flagrant racism and hatred that she had ever experienced personally. She gave her comments at a press conference on Monday, December 5th, alongside the mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio.
During the press conference, Elsokary stated her desire to become a police officer stemmed from the idea that she wanted to spread positivity throughout New York as a Muslim woman. She wanted to show that people can truly help everyone when they actually wish to, and she hoped that her example would spread to others. As an officer of the law and a Muslim, she is not able to discriminate against others for their religious beliefs, and she wanted to live in a world where the same would be true for everyone.
Christopher Nelson is the man accused of threatening Elsokary and her son. The man was 36 years old, and he was charged and arraigned for a felony hate crime. Despite the obvious horrible nature of the crime, Nelson has yet to offer any sort of public or private apology, and his lawyers refused to respond to questions. This incident is only one of several events around New York City in the recent weeks that have had racial or religious sources of conflict.
Another Muslim woman who worked for the city of New York was attacked Monday on her way to work. She worked at Grand Central Terminal as a station agent, and she wore the same hijab that all traditional Muslim woman must wear. A man who saw her headdress proceeded to push her down a tall flight of stairs, calling her a terrorist in the process. The woman was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for injuries to her knee and ankle.
Another recent incident involved vandalism on a subway train. The train was covered with swastikas and other pieces of material from the Ku Klux Klan’s manifesto. Such materials were also distributed throughout the Long Island Rail Road stations through the recent weeks.
Elsokary is a true American hero who did not deserve the treatment she received from the public she so desperately wanted to protect. In 2014, she was awarded a citation of bravery for running into a burning building in order to save a lost infant still inside. The police commissioner remembered visiting her later at the hospital where she had to be treated for inhaling smoke during the rescue.
Of the 36,000 members of the NYPD, roughly 900 of them are Muslims, according to the NYC Mayor de Blasio. Officers like Elsokary shouldn’t have to be subjected to racists telling her to return to her own country, because she is already in her own country. She is far more American than the coward who attempted to scare her away with his hate and racism.