A bill to protect the expression of one's religion

A bill to protect the expression of one's religion
Muslims and Jews in Islamic Cultural Center. Picture credit: NY1News/interfaith living museum

Bronx, NY – Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez (80th, Assembly District) introduced legislation to set the standard to protect the expression of one's religion. Bill A2738 will include removing a religious clothing article or headdress as an aggravated harassment in the second degree.

A growing anti-Muslim sentiment over recent years has led to an increase in the number of assaults against Muslims, such as the forcible removal of ones hijab. The hijab immediately identifies one as Muslim, which makes them easy targets for Islamophobic predators. 

“Every American citizen should have the right to practice their religion without facing discrimination,” said Assemblywoman Fernandez. “Our first amendment states that every person is due their freedom of religion in this country. Muslims, like everyone else, should be able to practice their religion without fear of harassment or assault. A woman’s hijab is an expression of one’s religion, and they have every right to wear one.”

Cases of hijab pulling include an instance on Southwest Airlines, where a man scolded a woman for wearing her headscarf in America before proceeding to grab and pull it off. Then in New York, a substitute teacher ripped off an 8 year olds hijab for simply sitting in his seat, traumatizing the poor girl. These are just a few of the many cases of assault against individuals for their perceived religious beliefs. A2738 currently sits in the Codes Committee.

Hijabi students from Islamic Leadership School in Parkchester, the Bronx

 

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