Mai Mohamed has been living in Houston for three years on a visa from Egypt with her husband and four children, but she has never experienced discrimination to the degree of what took place when she was filling up her water bottle outside of the store and encountered a woman who took issue with her hijab.
Mohamed’s friend, Fatima Loughlin-Saleh, told Yahoo Lifestyle Mohamed was wearing a “very Westernized outfit” with a hijab when a woman started making comments about how she looked “ugly.” The confrontation quickly escalated into an aggressive case of bullying before Mohamed started recording the moment on video.
In the video, which was posted to Loughlin-Saleh’s Facebook page, the unnamed woman is seen screaming expletives at Mohamed, giving her the middle finger and even telling her to “go back to her f***ing country.” What made matters worse for Mohamed, however, was the way that the situation was handled by a Kroger employee who got involved, but failed to offer her assistance.
“Y’all need to carry along,” the employee — who later self-identified as a manager — is heard saying before Mohamed turns to ask him if he heard how the other woman spoke to her. But the only response that he had for Mohamed was to tell her, “You need to get the camera off. You can’t use that on the web,” before walking away and leaving Mohamed to deal with the incident herself.
Since the incident, Mohamed spoke with managers on-site at the Kroger store in question and went to the police to place a report. Now, she’s working with civil rights attorney Arsalan Safiullah to determine if the incident was a hate crime.
“I mean, clearly it was a shocking incident. It’s very hateful,” Safiullah told Yahoo Lifestyle. “Whether it’s a hate crime, I’m going to have to look at more facts. It’s clearly xenophobic. Even when I saw [Mohamed] yesterday she was shaken by the incident.”
Representatives from Kroger have yet to respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
“I loved Kroger previously but will be the first to encourage others to shop at H-E-B or any other competition if this the style of management Kroger encourages,” Loughlin-Saleh said. “This hurt me to see Mai, who is so sweet, verbally abused like this when I know who she is as a person.”
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