Religious leaders in Newark are calling on the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate an incident where a Muslim woman was assaulted by a state employee at her workplace.
The group says that Newark city employee Benita Young had her hijab pulled off her head by a state employee while working at the One Stop Career Center on Dec. 5. That unidentified state worker also allegedly threw the hijab on to the ground.
“She was walking in the hallway and the gentleman said ‘You look like a beautiful elf’ and just snatched her headpiece off,” says Imam Mustafa El-Amin.
The state worker was apparently arrested and banned from the career center.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s office is calling on the state to terminate that worker’s employment and classify the incident as a hate crime.
The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development says that the employee in question has been suspended without pay.
The Muslim group says that they want to express to the public that removing a woman’s hijab is not just a rude act, but also a sign of disrespect to women.
“That’s a sign of not only disrespect for her womanhood, but in the eyes of God, her chastity has been taken away from her,” says Young’s friend Ali Sawab.
The group says that Newark has about 40,000 Muslim citizens, and they wanted to be vigilant about what they say is a rise in religious hatred.