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Muslim civil rights organization asks the company to train employees in competent and effective ‘bystander intervention’
(SEATTLE, WA, 6/19/19) – The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) today called on Starbucks to respond to an alleged attack on an American Muslim mother of two at a Starbucks coffee shop in Dallas, Texas.
Nur Ashour, an American Muslim woman and married mother of two, was reportedly physically assaulted by a customer after ordering coffee at a Dallas-area Starbucks. Ashour says had her 8-month-old baby was with her in a stroller at the time of the attack, and her 3-year-old daughter was nearby with her husband.
Ashour was allegedly harassed and assaulted by a customer who hurled items and verbal threats at her. Afraid for her safety and the safety of her child, Ashour ran from the Starbucks and found a security guard outside. Before Ashour reported the attack to the security officer, the attacker chased her out of the Starbucks.
After the alleged attack occurred, Ashour posted a tweet about the incident that went viral with more than 48,000 retweets. The Council on American-Islamic Relations – Dallas/Fort Worth (CAIR-DFW) has contacted the local Starbucks where the incident occurred to demand that all video surveillance of the attack be preserved.
As the CAIR chapter in the founding city and state of Starbucks, CAIR-WA is joining CAIR-DFW in an effort to compel the company, to invest in bystander intervention training for its employees.
“It feels very alienating when an incident happens in public and no one steps up, ” said Program and Outreach Coordinator Amina Ibrahim, ” I understand that some people do not know what to do, but it is so important that you get trained and learn how to help targets of hate incidents.”
“We find that people often just don’t know how to effectively intervene in a bias incident and therefore do nothing. A company-wide training could go far to make sure that no other Starbucks customer ever have to feel abandoned to hate like this again,” said CAIR-WA Policy and Advocacy Coordinator McKenna Lux, a Bystander Intervention Trainer.
“American Muslims, and particularly Muslim women, face an increased threat from Islamophobes,” said CAIR-DFW Legal Director Dontrey Tatum, who is the victim’s legal representative. “We urge law enforcement authorities to investigate this incident as a possible hate crime.”
CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.
CAIR recently released a groundbreaking report, called “Hijacked by Hate: American Philanthropy and the Islamophobia Network,” listing the philanthropic foundations, many of them mainstream, that were used by anonymous special interest donors to funnel almost $125 million to anti-Muslim hate groups between 2014 and 2016.
The report’s authors noted that one outcome of the funding and promotion of anti-Muslim hate and conspiracy theories has been the measurable nationwide increase in anti-Muslim hate violence, bullying of children and discrimination. The period covered by the report showed a marked increase in anti-Muslim hate violence and discrimination.
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.