There’s been a lot of high-profile anti-Muslim incidents occurring in America recently, especially on planes. In mid-April, a Muslim college student and Iraqi refugee were kicked off his flight for speaking Arabic, while an Italian economist was also questioned on suspicion of being a Muslim terrorist while doing a math equation on his flight. But even before all of that, a man ripped off a Muslim woman’s hijab on another flight. Now he’s facing jail time.
According to The New York Daily News, back in December of 2015, Gill Parker Payne approached a fellow passenger on their Southwest Airlines flight and told her to take off her hijab. Actually, he specifically said, “Take it off. This is America.” He then ripped the hijab off her head.
This incident happened just days after the San Bernardino shooting, which was carried out by a Muslim couple. Since then, certain presidential candidates have called for a travel ban of Muslims to the United States. It’s hard not to see Payne’s behavior as a manifestation of the paranoia and Islamophobic views expressed therein.
Even though suspicion of Muslims for being Muslim is an unfortunate part of living in America now, ripping off a woman’s hijab in public can still get you in trouble with the federal government. Case in point: Payne pled guilty to stopping the woman from exercising her religious beliefs last Friday. He faces a maximum of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
(via New York Daily News)