An attorney helping a Muslim mother, who police say was threatened with a rifle in the parking lot of a shopping center in the University City area, is asking authorities to investigate it as a hate crime.
They also have the support of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nations largest Muslim civil rights organization.
According to a police report and the mother herself, the woman was sitting in the parking lot of the India Grocers off of University City Blvd nursing her one-month-old child when a man pulled up next to her and pulled a rifle on her.
The attorney helping the woman said the mother didn't want to be identified because she is scared of backlash.
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“She is kind of scared to come out and speak about it. I mean she is distressed, she is a mother and she is worrying about her young babies," said attorney Mujtaba Mohammed. “This victim can’t even go to the grocery store without having to look over your shoulder.”
The mother said she was nursing her child after grocery shopping. Mohammed confirmed that the mother was wearing a hijab or head scarf.
According to the mother, the man stared at her with a "menacing look" and then pulled out the rifle. She ran back inside with her child and had the owner of the grocer call police. When police arrived, the man was gone.
“He pulls out a rifle and the scary part is that he points it at her while she is sitting there in her car," said Mohammed.
“We believe this person was staring at her based on her faith and ethnicity,” said Ibrahim Hooper with CAIR. “North Carolina has a Ethnic Intimidation law and I think that would be appropriate in this situation.”
Hooper says CAIR will be pushing authorities to do a full investigation.
For those that frequent that shopping plaza and grocer this situation only adds to the fears felt across the country.
“It is very scary and I am nervous now. I just have to be very careful," said Nidhi Mathur. “It is just really sad, I mean first we are humans and it does not matter what race we belong. What is happening is really not fair.”
The only description provided in the police report was a white man in his 40's or 50's driving a red pick up.
“Absolutely, the Charlotte Muslim community and speaking with the victim would like this looked at as a hate crime," said Mohammed.