As a Muslim woman who wears the headscarf in America, 22-year-old Nura Takkish says she expects to be the target of Islamophobia -- just not when she and her friends are enjoying ice cream at their neighborhood ice cream parlor.
Takkish was sitting with two of her friends at Andrew’s Ice Cream and Dessert in Orange County, California, on Monday, May 23, when they noticed a commotion at the counter. A customer was being asked to leave for saying “racist and nasty things,” the shop’s baker, Jessie Noah, later told The Huffington Post.
Takkish's friend Malaak Ammari started to record the incident on her phone.
In the 20-second clip, Noah can be heard saying to the man, “You can give somebody else your business,” as she returns him $3 he spent on ice cream.
“If you can’t be nice, we don’t want you,” Cindy Ramsay, the shop owner’s wife, adds.
As he heads to the door, the man points a finger at the two women in headscarves and says, "I don’t want them near my country."
“Too bad, we’re here,” Ammari replies, still filming. “Sucks for you.”
“Sucks for me? You’ll see what happens,” the man replies threateningly. Then Noah walks to the door and closes it as the man walks away.
Takkish says she posted the video on Twitter Monday evening to show how common anti-Muslim bigotry has become.
A report released earlier this month by the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University states that there were more acts of anti-Muslim violence and vandalism in 2015 than in any year since the Sept. 11 attacks. And in the month after the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernandino late last year -- as presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump called for a ban on all Muslims from entering the U.S. -- hate crimes against Muslims in the U.S. tripled. The Huffington Post has also documented the near-daily acts of harassment, violence and discrimination faced by Muslims in the U.S. in recent months.
But Takkish said she also shared the video because she was so impressed by the way the shop responded to the man.
Noah, who was seen escorting the man out in the video, said she had never experienced such outward racism before, and felt the need to defend the women.
“To treat them as lesser because of their beliefs is not American,” she told HuffPost.
To date, the video has been retweeted over 24,000 times. While some on Twitter defended the man’s bigotry, many have also expressed support for the women. Several people have also taken to Yelp to commend the shop.
The encouragement has extended beyond social media. Greg Ramsay, the shop’s owner, was not present at the time of the incident, but told HuffPost that he received a call from a Muslim community member offering to organize an event encouraging the area’s Muslims to come to the shop and buy ice cream as a way of showing gratitude for the employees’ actions.
“There’s been an expression from a lot of people to say thank you,” Ramsay said.
The day after the incident, the women went back to the shop to thank the employees for defending them. When they left, Ramsay explained to a couple waiting to order ice cream the reason for the women’s visit. Ramsay said another woman nearby overheard the story, and she placed a $20 bill on the counter and said she didn’t want ice cream but would like to pay for whoever ordered ice cream after she left. When Ramsay explained to the next customers why they didn’t have to pay for ice cream, other people in the shop heard and gave money as well, until Ramsay had $60 worth of pre-paid ice cream.
“It took me about two to three hours to get rid of it before I could start charging people again for ice cream,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to solicit money, but I would tell people and they’d like it.”