Wednesday, August 21, 2019 | 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

Rohingya repatriation shouldn't be delayed

THE much complicated Rohingya repatriation process is set to begin on Thursday, around 10 months after the first attempt failed as the refugees refused to go back without assurance of

DCCs' dengue drama

AS Bangladesh, especially the capital is reeling under massive dengue outbreak, mobile courts run by Dhaka's two city corporations are penalising the residents keeping public places and government establishments hosting

Co-operative Farming

Md Bayazid Khan :The news that broke across the country recently is about a frustrated farmer who sets his paddy plants ablaze out of frustration of low price has shocked

Pre-primary Education

Gazi Md. Abdur Rashid :Pre-primary education is education that focuses on educating children from the ages of infancy until six years old. Pre-primary Education means that a enjoyable education preparation

Eid homegoers most sufferers this year

AMIDST the collapsed train schedule, transport shortage and allegations of extra charges on buses, people are suffering most while returning after celebrating Eid to their workstations, particularly Dhaka. Most trains

Deaths on highways and a chaotic transport sector

NEWSPAPERS reported that at least 224 people were killed and 866 injured in 203 road crashes across the country in the 12 days of Eid-ul-Azha holiday rush this year. According

Corporal Punishment

Sir Frank Peters: [Many 'teachers' upon retiring will look back with remorse and weep with sorrow and shame when they think about the number of children they tortured, traumatized, and perhaps

Saving The Earth's Forests

Ladd Connell :This month, the world's leading climate scientists issued a report on land confirming what we already know: forests are a critical weapon in the battle against climate change.

Capital shortfall in state-run banks

More than two-third state-run banks faced capital shortfall in the first quarter of the year. Though the situation was gloomy, but the government is yet to take any action against

Find out a sustainable solution to protect leather market

ALTHOUGH tanners were supposed to start buying rawhide at the government-fixed rates, merchants refused to sell, demanding the payment of a "considerable" portion of their arrears. It comes after seasonal