Non-Muslim woman wearing bandana victim of anti-Muslim hate crime

Police are investigating a rare hate crime at popular Mission Peak in Fremont after someone leaves a profanity laced, anti-Muslim note in a woman's car.

It happened in the parking lot at the base of the peak on Stanford Avenue. The victim believes she was targeted because she was wearing a bandanna.

Nicki Pancholy said she is frightened and shocked after someone broke into her car stealing her purse and checkbook. She documented what happened on Facebook Live.

"You can see someone has definitely broken my window here and smashed it," said Pancholy.

However, it wasn't the break-in that upset her as much as the handwritten note left behind. It read "Hijab wearing (expletive). This is our nation now. Get the (expletive) out."
               
"It's said," said Pancholy. "It is sad. I'm human. I have emotions. It's sad when someone feels that much self-loathing and that much hatred."

It happened around 4 p.m. Tuesday afternoon at the Mission Peak parking lot on Stanford Avenue. Ironically, Pancholy says she was born and raised in San Jose. She's a blogger and hikes Mission Peak every day to promote peace. She believes whoever did it thought she was Muslim.

"This is not a hijab," said "This is a bandanna from REI and I let it loose to cover my neck from the sun."
               
In fact, Pancholy has lupus and wears a bandanna to protect her head from the sun.

"The absurdity of people who want to deport others is problematic but it's also frightening," said CAIR Executive Director Zahra Billoo.

The Council on American Islamic Relations said this is the third reported hate crime in the Bay Area targeting Muslims post-election. At San Jose State, a Muslim woman was reportedly attacked in a campus parking garage and at U.C. Berkeley, a passerby threatened to pull a woman's head scarf.

"Hate is unacceptable," said Pancholy. "I forgive whoever did this. It's okay."

Pancholy is offering compassion to the perpetrator, as she went back hiking Wednesday, not letting fear set in.
               
"It could happen to anyone," said Pancholy. "There is ignorance out there and I think it's important to be vigilant, more vigilant now especially in this heated climate."

So far, police have no leads mainly because there are no cameras in the parking lot.. They are asking if anyone saw anything to call East Bay Regional Park District Police at (510) 510-881-1833.

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