Woman Targeted by Man at Coffee Shop for Wearing Niqab

A woman wearing a traditional burqa was the target of a racist rant by a man in line at a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf cafe in Riverside.

“I don’t like your religion because it says to kill me, and I don’t want to be killed by you,” the man said to the woman in a now-viral video.

“You are committing hate speech,” the woman said in response.

A third person, customer Barry Landau, can be heard defending the woman in the video.

“Get out of here! [Expletive] racist,” Landau said. “I said get out of here! Why are you doing this to her?”

The two men then exchanged insults. Landau said a woman joined the man in yelling at the woman in the burqa, although that was not caught on video.

“I have nothing against anyone, all I ask is people live and let live,” Landau told NBC4. “The problem is these people were attacking essentially a girl who did nothing, simply because she was wearing her religion.”

Moments after Landau’s confrontation, the video cuts back to the original man not being served. A woman behind the counter at the cafe, who identified herself as the supervisor on duty, said the man will not be served, “Because he is disrupting a public place and being very racist.”

The woman in the burqa can be heard in the video thanking the supervisor.

Reports of hate crimes — such as assault, intimidation and vandalism — against Muslims significantly increased between November 2016 and November 2017, according to an analysis by a University of Illinois at Chicago professor with the nonprofit South Asian Americans Leading Together.

The analysis showed a 46 percent increase in hate violence motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment. At least 300 incidents between the time frame were documented.

As of 10 p.m. Monday, the video posted on the verified Twitter account of CJ Werleman, who identifies himself as a columnist for the Middle East Eye and The New Arab, had been viewed over 1.5 million times.

The entire video is available here.

The Council on American Islamic Relations told NBC4 that the woman in the burqa contacted their offices Monday evening. She has been in touch with their lawyer.

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