Watch A California Muslim Being Harassed And Accused of Being Illegal
It was a scary moment for a Modesto man of Middle Eastern descent after he was followed and harassed near his own home.
The incident was captured on video and shows a man yelling at the victim telling him he was in the country illegally and that agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were looking for him.
“I turn right, right here and you are following me, man,” said Alhamzah Al- Juboori, 23, of Modesto.
Al-Juboori says it wasn’t just the longest four minutes of his life, but one of the scariest moments he has ever experienced living in Modesto.
“I was pretty shocked, honestly,” he said.
Al-Juboori, who was born in Iraq and recently became a U.S. citizen, was driving home when he noticed somebody was tracking his every move.
“Yeah, he got behind me and then I noticed it was very obvious, you know. And then I turned right on Merle and then he turned right without a signal. Then, I was like let me go to the shopping center. I got into the shopping center, I was like let me exit and then I exited and then I stopped,” he said.
As he started to confront the man in the white car following him, Al-Juboori took out his phone and started recording.
“Are you from around here? Because I recognize your car and you seem like you were an illegal and I know an ICE agent, I live with one, and they are looking for you. You look like you’re Indian,” the man in the video said.
The video was posted to social media where it’s been viewed more than 200,000 times and shared by close to 2,000 people. It’s an incident that officials with the Council on American-Islamic Relations say is a growing problem.
“There is a lot of data showing there is an increase in hate crimes being reported, we’re actually at some of the highest numbers since 911,” said Dr. Hammad Kahn of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Members of the council say education is the key to helping people - of all races understand one another.
“A large part of this comes from a lack of understanding and a great deal of ignorance and that is why it’s so important to get out and get to know people in your community,” said Kahn.
Leaders with the Council on American-Islamic Relations say the victim in this case did the right thing by reporting the incident to police.