Columbus woman says she was victim of hate crime

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Columbus woman claims she was the victim of a hate crime and now fears for her family’s safety.

The Somali-American says she was targeted because of her Islamic head scarf.

It was at the intersection of Cleveland Avenue and Schrock Road where Saido, a Columbus resident, said she had her first experience of hate in America.

But she never thought it would follow her to her home the next day 

“I’m here in America 16 years,” Saido said. “I never feel fear. I never scare. This is my first time to scare.”

She says last week, a man pulled up beside her family in their car, turned his fingers into a gun, and pulled the trigger.

“I was thinking this guy is a crazy old man and I’m not going to see him again,” Saido said.

But the next day, her son ran into their house, saying the man was outside their home.

Saido called the police, but by the time they arrived, the man had left.

“Always I have in my mind, maybe he will come back to my house,” she said. “He will bring big gun. We don’t sit in the living (room) since it happened. I’m scared because I’m thinking he’s got big gun and maybe he shoots the window.”

Saido reached out to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, which said her story is one they hear all too often.

“This is not the first time that a Muslim family, that a Somali family has been threatened, has been harassed based on their religion or ethnicity in central Ohio,” said CAIR-Ohio Executive Director Romn Iqbal.

CAIR said this is the fifth incident reported to them this year, but by speaking out today, they’re trying to make it the last.

“Our real hope here is that if this man is arrested and charged with a hate crime under Ohio laws, that this will send a message that this behavior should not be tolerated and, more importantly, will not be tolerated in Ohio,” Iqbal said.

Columbus Police said if anyone is investigating the report, it would be the department’s zone unit, which handles misdemeanor crimes like theft and menacing.

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