MANCHESTER — A shocking mall confrontation in Manchester was caught on video. The incident has sparked a police investigation. The incident happened at the Buckland Hills Mall inside the Macy’s store just before 8 p.m. Monday.
Manchester Police Lt. Ryan Shea confirmed they are investigating a racially motivated incident.
The video posted on social media shows a still unidentified shopper is heard making a comment toward a Muslim woman who was with her daughters. She can be heard saying their husbands force the women to wear hijabs, which is a traditional Muslim head covering.
The daughters, who want to remain anonymous said, “We’re living in this country with freedom. That’s why we’re wearing our head scarf because we can wear it.”
She said it all started when the woman was talking to someone on speaker phone. “And she goes, 'oh yeah I’m trying to look for my keys but there’s no one here to ask for help. They are all immigrants and they don’t speak in English.'”
They then started speaking to each other. “She’s like yeah but you immigrants are taking over.” She said, “I’ve always just had love and care from the community here.”
The video caught the attention of CAIR Connecticut American Islamic Relations. Tark Aouadi is the Executive Director.
Aouadi said, “We’re seeing more of this. People are emboldened to say what they think...They are using the idea that this is a free country and that we have free speech to shield against what is real hate. And the solution isn’t to spout out more hate and xenophobia. It’s to meet your neighbor.”
Arig Elhamouly is a student at the Hartford Seminary. She recalled being the target of hate. She said a man walked passed swearing at her. She wants others to call out hate where it lives.
“I think now a days we need to do more of that. I don’t mind stoping people and saying hey let’s talk,” said Elhamouly.
Manchester Police are investigating.
They are trying to identify the woman in the video making the remarks. She left before the police arrived.