Thursday, September 24, 2020 | ePaper

Hate Attack

7-year-old Soborno also can't escape

  • Print


Rashidul Bari :
"As a Muslim, I love Islam. But I also love Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity. I love to celebrate Eid. But I also love to celebrate Durga Puja, Modhu Purnima, Rosh Hashanah, and Christmas. Let's unleash love to defeat terrorism."
At 9 pm on April 28, 2019 my family and I arrived at Khabar Bari, a restaurant located in Jackson Heights, New York, to glue the cover of Soborno Isaac's new book, "The Love," onto the wall of Khabar Bari  to promote the main message of the book:
All of a sudden, we saw a group of men moving very close to us. They were talking among themselves while we were placing the book cover on the wall (we had received permission from the restaurant owner to do so). One of these men began talking behind our backs to his group, criticizing the fact that our son, Soborno, despite being a Muslim, had Isaac as a middle name, declaring, "They can't be Muslim because their son's name is Isaac. Jewish and Christian smells come from this name."
Out of this prejudice an altercation arose initiated by the man, whose name we did not know. He began by blowing smoke from his cigarette in our direction and forced us (including Soborno) to inhale his secondary smoke. I told him he should not direct his smoke toward us--especially Soborno. However, he refused to do so. While we were giving LIVE on Facebook to promote the message of Soborno's book, "The Love," the man started directing the smoke specifically at Soborno. When I tried to capture his behavior on camera, the man proceeded to block the camera lens, and forced us to end our recording.
 Thus, began an acrimonious exchange which drew in crowds from many of the surrounding stores. My elder son, Refath, proceeded to stand between the man and me, forcing the man to back away, and calming the quarrel. Eventually, I apologized for naming my son "Isaac", which the man understood to be a concession; yet still, the man insulted me, and stated -- to paraphrase -- "You are a lapdog of Jews and Christians. You make money by doing their dirty work."
My wife took the stand and informed the man I was a college professor at Bronx C. College, and a journalist at The Huffington Post, The Times of India and The Jerusalem Post, who assumed the responsibility of recording such instances of hate speech (i.e., "you are not a Muslim because your son's name is Isaac") and aggressive behaviour (directing smoke at Soborno). And yet, among all this chaos my little son, Soborno, stood next to his mom making a heart shape using his fingers, which were shivering, in the hope of inspiring the men to stop their attack on us.
(Rashidul Bari, a doctoral student at Columbia University, teaches mathematics at Bronx C. College. His email is rb3080@columbia.edu and website is Bari Science Lab)

More News For this Category

Protect the reserve forest at Kuakata sea beach

THE reserve forest at Kuakata sea beach is disappearing day by day due to continuous erosion by the Bay of Bengal. Sand is getting removed from the tree roots

No remedy in sight to save banking sector

REPORT in a national daily on Wednesday said Bangladesh Bank has become ineffective in containing defaulted loans due to immense political pressure and illegal intervention by some large business

Abraham Deal

Abraham Deal

Anik Ahmed :Bahrain announced its decision to normalize relations with Israel on September 15, following the UAE that claimed signing a peace deal with Israel about a month ago.

New Media

New Media

Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed :The rise of new media, a catch-all term used for various kinds of electronic communications, has increased communication between people all over the world and

Rich nations those make us climate vulnerable must compensate

THE richest 1 per cent of people were responsible for more than twice as much carbon pollution as the poorest half of the world's population - 3.1 billion people -

Migrants, instead of traffickers, now languishing in jail

REPORT in a national daily on Tuesday said 81 migrant workers were sent to jail on September 1 upon their return from Vietnam without allowing them to join their families

Transition From Classroom To Online

The ongoing pandemic due to SARS-CoV-2 has changed the life-pattern of people from all walks of life, especially the kids one. Academic life by this time has shifted from classroom

Pritilata An Embodiment Of Inspiration

Pritilata Waddedar, a Bengal origin was the first woman to sacrifice life in the armed struggle against the British rule. The young girl set an example of love for her

City footpaths, over-bridges must be safe for pedestrians

A PICTURE carried in a national daily shows two gas cylinders and a gas burner were being chained by a man over a foot over-bridge in the city has caught

Reappointing present MD meant retaining corruption in WASA

THE Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority board on Sunday sent a proposal to the Local Government Ministry for reappointing Taqsem A Khan as DWASA managing director for another term