Racist abuse towards Muslim group in San Francisco caught on video

A hateful incident was captured on a holy day for Muslims in San Francisco. A group from a San Francisco mosque was celebrating Eid al-Adha in John McLaren Park on Monday when a man walking two dogs passed by shouting expletives and making threats. There is video of the incident. 

Muslim Americans we spoke with who attended the event said they are shocked and saddened that it happened in San Francisco. Organizers of the celebration are sharing the video of the incident to teach about the Islamic faith. 

The joy of observing Eid, one of two major holidays in the Muslim faith, is a tradition observed by Bay Area Muslims at a picnic in the Portola Valley neighborhood. 

"We were celebrating together with our family and friends, eating good food and celebrating community and being Muslims in the city," said Shadia Walsh. 

But hours earlier, at around 8:30 a.m., event organizers with the Islamic Center of San Francisco, a mosque, say they were preparing for a prayer service when the man with two small dogs, started yelling offensive remarks directed at them and against the Muslim faith. 

The video shows the unidentified man saying to the group, "Your religion is full of hate." The mosque member retorts to the man to, "Have a good day," and informs him that the group has a permit to be there from the city. There is some back and forth before the unidentified man yells an expletive. 

"I never really thought I'd come across, you know, something like that, especially in the City of San Francisco. It's just really, really sad," said mosque member Sal Shaikh, who took the video. 

One of the event organizers from the mosque said the man made a threat when he said, "I'm gonna put some pig grease here for you (expletives)."

"We're forbidden to touch or eat pigs in our religion and for him to say he was going to come back in that way, or attack us in that way, potentially, that made me uncomfortable. I was scared, I was frightened, I was worried about the safety of others," said Shabaz Shaikh, board director at the Islamic Center of San Francisco. 

He says the mosque holds holiday observances in public parks routinely and nothing like this has happened before. 

"Just to see someone speak that way in that tone…with the aggression…it's something I've never heard before. And it was just very threatening," said Shaikh. 

He said he's never experienced this level of racist abuse before in his life. He said there were about 50 Muslims gathered at the time of the confrontation. He called 911 and gave a copy of the video to an SFPD officer who arrived to take a report. 

Shaikh said he wants the man to be identified. 

"I would invite him to our mosque and if he's interested in learning about our faith, or about our culture, I'm more than happy to sit down with him and explain, educate him," Shaikh said. 

"If you get to know people from other cultures, religions, you might realize that we're not so different after all," said Walsh. 

Police said this is an open and active investigation and that it's too early to determine if they will investigate this as a hate crime. 


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