On Thursday night, 18-year-old Yasmin Seweid was on her way back from an event at Baruch and was on an uptown No. 6 platform at the 23rd St. and Park Ave. stop at about 10 P.M. when three drunk white men started harassing her. As she boarded the train, three men started chanting “Trump!” and said “Oh look, a (expletive) terrorist,” Seweid recounts. During the train ride, the three men yelled “Get the hell out of the country! You don’t belong here.” Onlookers stood by as Seweid was harassed on the subway car. According to Seweid, they did nothing.
When Seweid tried to ignore the three men, they pulled on her bag until the strap broke. Seweid responded by telling them to leave her alone, but the men kept laughing. When she walked to the other end of the cart, the men followed her and tried to pull off her hijab until she put her hand on top of her head to hold it down. Despite this, no one came to her aid. Seweid finally got off at 42nd street and reported the incident to the police.
More than 500,000 New York residents since 2014 identify themselves as Muslim in New York City, according to NYC Religion. Despite the large population and acceptance of Muslims in NYC, there has been an increase in hate crimes since the election, with 34 attacks from Nov. 8-27 compared to only 13 last year, according to Daily News.
We must dispel the myth that hate crimes are largely and only present in rural and non-diverse areas. We have to acknowledge the that such hate crimes can occur even in the most diverse areas. Not only will this help raise awareness of Islamophobia, but also hold us more accountable, especially as bystanders, to protect individuals who are constantly faced with prejudice on a daily basis.