Being a Muslim in America right now is more difficult than it has ever been before. Harassment has become more than snide remarks on the streets and has developed into brutal and violent Islamophobia unlike ever before.
Danielle Alamrani is one of two New York police officers that wear the hijab and has done so since 2007 when she converted to Islam. Alamrani knew from the beginning that being an openly Muslim female police officer would present its struggles. What she didn’t expect is that the worst harassment she would receive would come from her colleagues. Alamrani first began wearing the hijab in 2008, and then was granted an official religious accommodation to wear her headscarf on duty in May 2009. She received warnings from her colleagues in the beginning, telling her it was a safety hazard. Not long after that, she was taken off patrol and put on jobs such as desk duty and guarding prisoners, which greatly affected her paycheck that she used to support herself and her children.
One of the worst cases of her colleague-driven harassment occurred Christmas Day 2012, when two of her fellow officers attacked her, attempted to rip her hijab off, and called her a “Muslim bitch.” She also was demonized every day being called names like “ISIS,” “terrorist,” “Taliban,” and “jihad.”
The harassment continued and also included an event in September 2014, in which an officer responded to an alleged noise complaint at Alamrani’s home. She and her husband were placed under arrest, and her children were detained for eight hours “just to torment her,” she stated.
The harassment became so severe that in 2015 Alamrani went into early retirement for three months. Finally, in 2015 Alamrani filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission and was given the right to sue this year. Alamrani’s story is not a rare one, and Muslim-Americans continue to face harassment every day. It is Alamrani’s lawyers hope that the mayor of New York City, as well as the NYPD, will give their support as they have in previous cases of similar police harassment.