Saturday, November 21, 2009

A pull on the old hijab

I fully expect to be told I’m crazy on this one, but I just don’t see a hate crime in this story. In Chicago, Amal Abusumayah claimed she felt a sharp tug on her hijab. This coupled with a derogatory comment constitutes the basis for charging Valerie Kenney with a hate crime.

"I was shaken up," Abusumayah told the SouthtownStar about the Nov. 7 assault. "This is my dignity and this is my religion."

Ahmed Rehab of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said his organization has reached out to the FBI to pursue federal charges.

Kenney faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 for a crime that should be no more than misdemeanor assault, if that. The fact that CAIR wants the FBI to pursue federal charges is simply insane.

I can’t count the number of time I’ve been grabbed on the shoulder, had my shirt pulled, or been taunted with unkind remarks. All met with an appropriate retort meant to defuse rather than escalate. How did this become a hate crime? Why CAIR of course.

I must ask, where is the harm? Abusumayah suffered no injury. Her dignity may be bruised, but a conviction for misdemeanor assault and civil action should serve as sufficient redress. It does not matter if her religion was abused. Her religion has no standing.

The derogatory remark was not so derogatory, "The guy that did the Texas shooting, he wasn't American and he was from the Middle East.” – Am I missing something? This sounds like part of a conversation. We are not hearing the whole story. It makes me wonder.

Many of the time that I’ve was tapped on the shoulder from behind it was followed by, “Hey, I’m talking to you buddy.”  Abusumayah’s hijab covers her head and shoulders, a tug on her headscarf follow by a ,“Hey, I’m talking to you,” seems like a reasonable explanation here.

Sun-Times Columnist Richard Roeper got it right.

"Look, if Kenney did what she's accused of doing, it was a nasty thing to do, and it's certainly a Stupid Crime," writes Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper. "But jail time? How about an apology, forgiveness, some kind of community service and everybody moves on?"

This is about religion, Islam, CAIR, and their desperate need to be victims in light of the Ft. Hood murders.

Let’s save hate crime statutes for real hate crime and stop caving into the demands of powerful religions institutions.

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