(ATLANTA, GA, 11/27/2018) – The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Georgia) today called on law enforcement to locate and arrest a driver who used his pickup truck to harass and endanger a Muslim family while they traveled on Highway I-85 in Atlanta on Saturday, Nov. 24th.
During the incident, an unidentified white male riding in the passenger seat of the pickup truck made obscene gestures at a Muslim woman who was wearing a hijab as she rode in a separate car with her family. The pickup truck later swerved into the family's lane, and the passenger again made the same obscene gestures.
The family captured part of the incident with a cell phone camera. CAIR-Georgia has shared the video footage, and filed a report, with the Dekalb Police Department. CAIR-Georgia is also asking the public for help identifying the unidentified white men who were riding in the truck (license plate #RHI0821).
Screenshots from video footage recorded by Muslim family during Nov. 24th incident of highway harassment on Highway I-85 North.
"Driving while Muslim should not put a family's life at risk," said attorney Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia. "We expect law enforcement to identify the men responsible for this incident, and pursue criminal charges against them. If any members of the public recognize the suspects or their vehicle, please alert us or the police."
At the time of the incident, a Georgia Muslim family was traveling on I-85 North near exit 92 in Dekalb County. The father was driving. The mother, who wears an Islamic head scarf (hijab), was sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle. Their three children were sitting in the backseat.
The family was traveling in a center lane of the highway when a white Ford Ranger pickup truck (license plate #RHI0821) carrying two unidentified white males approached the driver's side of their car. One of the men made eye contact with the mother, and flashed obscene gestures at her, including their middle fingers.
The family then began recording the incident. A minute or so later, the driver of the pickup truck swerved his vehicle into the lane of the family's car and hit his brakes, forcing them to brake. The white male in the passenger seat of the pickup truck then flashed both middle fingers at the family, stuck out his tongue, and laughed.
[NOTE: To ensure the safety of the family members, CAIR-Georgia is not publicly sharing their names. The family will also not be participating in any interviews until the suspects have been identified and located].
"The obvious explanation for this unprovoked, profane, and dangerous harassment is hostility towards this family's visible religious identity," said Murtaza Khwaja, staff attorney with CAIR-Georgia. “Far too many American Muslims, people of color, and other minorities must regularly videotape incidents of harassment they experience in our nation."
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.