Running a quick errand with her toddler son turned into a deeply upsetting experience for a Muslim woman in Minneapolis, as she was the target of threats and hate speech.
Moera Elidrissi was driving in Uptown with her 1-year-old child in the back seat on Wednesday morning when a man and a woman began tailing her, according to the Council of Islamic American Relations Minnesota (CAIR-MN).
Elidrissi, whose family business is Uptown Eyeswear, was wearing a hijab at the time. The couple blocked her from parking her car and then approached her, shouting obscenities.
"You should f------ go home," and "you should be f------ deported," the pair are said to have shouted at her, before the woman threatened to "rip her face off if she sees her again," CAIR–MN reported.
Speaking to WCCO, Elidrissi said she was afraid but tried to keep calm for the sake of her son: "I asked her, ‘If you want to talk, we can just talk. I have a baby in the back,’ and she said, ‘I’m going to hit your car, and it is going to be your fault.'"
Elidrissi said people need to "step up and say something" if they witness something like this in the future, saying the targeting of minority groups is getting worse and that they worry about their American-born son's future.
Minneapolis police are investigating the incident, though Elidrissi and her husband said they don't want to see the couple responsible get in trouble.
CAIR-MN executive director Jaylani Hussein said it's the second incident of Muslim hate speech in Minnesota this week, after a Muslim woman was followed and harassed by a man in Moorhead on Saturday.
"This incident is alarming and appears to be the result of growing Islamophobia – and it must be treated with the seriousness it deserves," Hussein said. "It's troubling to know that Muslim women in our state have to fear going about in their daily lives."
Hate crimes on the rise
Hate crimes targeting Muslims have been on the rise in the U.S., with FBI figures released in November revealing there were 260 reported hate crimes in the state in 2015, up from 154 the year before.
Minnesota has experienced a slight uptick in anti-Muslim incidents, even though hate crimes have been trending downwards in the past few years.
Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 24, 2016, there had been nine anti-Islamic incidents in Minnesota, and 11 reported in 2015. This compares to just two anti-Muslim incidents reported in 2010.
There have been several notable hate crime incidents in Minnesota recently too, not just targeting Muslims. Jewish students at state colleges have been targeted by anti-Semitic abuse, while a black family who recently moved to Delano had their house vandalized and "get out" sprayed on the walls.