An innocent Muslim woman was tackled, beaten and strip-searched by Chicago cops who mistook her being late for a train ride—as terrorism.
The incident occurred on the 4th of July last year, but only went to trial this month. Itemad “Angel” Almatar said that she was also kicked, and had her hijab taken off by five Chicago police officers at a train station, CBS Chicagoreported.
Almatar was charged with reckless conduct and resisting arrest over the incident.
Much of the incident was captured on video and shows that Almatar was no criminal. In spite of the video showing her innocence, Cook County prosecutors forced Almatar to go to trial. On Wednesday, a jury found her not guilty on all charges.
“They asked me why I put my food inside my bag, why I’m Muslim, why I’m fasting, why I’m wearing these clothes, why I cover my body,” Almatar told CBS.
Prosecutors claimed Almatar was told to stop by police as they chased her up the stairs, but video surveillance footage shows nobody else in the crowd turning their heads in response to the supposed command, reports CBS.
“She was strip-searched, videographed, and at the same time men were allowed to see her naked. This is the ultimate horror you can do to a Muslim woman,” said Imam Malick Mujahid, a local Muslim community leader, according to CBS.
Naturally, the Chicago police department has yet to face any accountability for this assault.
This fear-based reaction is not an isolated incident. As Claire Bernish pointed out earlier this year, a Washington, D.C., cop approached and proceeded to intimidate a woman in a public library, saying if she refused to remove her hijab, she would have to leave. For her choice of headwear, an innocent woman was threatened with police action.
Islamophobia is the ultimate win for Daesh (ISIL) and other violent groups. If you don’t buy that, consider the following cycle.
Any group subjected to continuous discrimination and constant denigration will first experience fear, but eventually, that fear begins to translate to resentment. When resentment builds to an ultimate level, it tends to translate to action—not in carrying out a terrorist attack, but in a more insidious way. As Alex Mierjeski explained in attn:
“Groups like the Islamic State, some say, take advantage of disenfranchised immigrants who face discrimination and difficult social conditions.”
When buying into xenophobia as policy, as in the case of Trump’s wall, people are ultimately fanning the flames of terrorist rhetoric. Beyond that, the same fear allows the West to fund perpetual, imperialist war for the corporations which rely on natural resources overseas.
Instead of realizing that American foreign policy creates terrorism through the killing of innocent people written off as “collateral damage,” brutal occupations masked as “humanitarian efforts,” and general tactics of destabilization in the Middle East referred to as “spreading democracy,” many citizens just resort to bigotry. After all, it is far easier to close one’s mind and hate than to love and understand.