Muslim man verbally harassed in Starbucks shares harrowing experience online

Racism ran rampant at a Starbucks in Midtown Manhattan earlier this week.

On Tuesday, 22-year-old photojournalist, Mohammed Elshamy and his friend were meeting for coffee when they were allegedly verbally harassed by a white woman in the shop because of their race.

Elshamy told Mashable the incident lasted nearly 10 minutes. The following day, he was still shaken up by the comments that were made and decided to share his negative encounter online with over 11,000 Facebook followers.

Elshamy prefaced his post by assuring his followers he was not sharing the personal experience to garner sympathy, but rather to further highlight contemporary racism.

According to Elshamy, as he and his friend sat in Starbucks, a woman directed derogatory, hateful slurs at them, saying, “Fucking Muslims, go back to where you fucking came from, you’re so ugly.” Elshamy went on to explain that the woman then targeted his female friend, who was veiled, calling her an “ugly whore.”

Appalled by the woman’s outrageously lewd comments, Elshamy responded by immediately dialing 911, however, when the woman exited the Starbucks, he felt he had to take more immediate action.

Elshamy reportedly sought out a nearby NYPD patrol car and explained the incident to an officer, but was left with an unsatisfactory response. According to Elshamy, after he recounted his experience, the officer dismissed the woman’s harsh comments as “freedom of speech.”

“Sorry man, they curse us too,” the officer allegedly told Elshamy. “It’s number one in the American constitution. Anyone can say whatever they want, it’s freedom of speech.”

In his post, Elshamy went on to ponder the absurdity of this statement, taking the simple concept of human decency into question. “So insulting people based on how they look, where they come from, language they speak, is still considered freedom of speech?” he inquired before considering this could be the precise reason why America is facing so many social justice issues.

Elshamy told Mashable, “when the officer told me we can’t do anything unless she strikes or attacks you, it made no sense to me because hate speech is what leads to hate crime.”

Though he explained that people will occasionally cast anxious glances his way on the subway, Elshamy said this is the first time anyone in the city has ever taken action and abused him.

“They’re just racist. I don’t think this has to do with America as a nation,” he said, explaining that when he shared his experience on Facebook a majority of the people who supported him were his American friends. 

Following the election of Donald Trump, a depressingly large number of hateful acts against minorities have been reported and shared online.

Ultimately, Elshamy decided to share his experience to raise awareness. “I felt, ‘This is so annoying,” he said. “It’s something that’s actually happening in New York, which everyone tells me is the most open-minded place in the states.”

“It’s just sad,” he concluded. “It’s sad that this is happening in 2016.”

Mashable reached out to the NYPD and Starbucks for comment.

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from Mashable!