In the wake of terror attacks that have taken place all throughout Europe propagated by ISIS, Islamophobia is at levels not seen in Western society since the September 11 attacks. According to a report by the Southern Poverty law centre, anti-Islam hate groups are rising rapidly, going up from 34 to 101 in the years 2015 and 2016.
Donald Trump’s Presidential Election victory in late 2016 was partly based upon an anti-Islam rhetoric, and Islamophobes in America may feel emboldened by the man currently in the White House, leading to incidents such as this one in a parking lot.
In North Dakota, Amber Hensley adjudged that a car driven by three Somalian women was parked too close to hers at a Walmart. What followed was a shocking verbal attack in which Hensley threatened to kill all Muslims.
Last Tuesday, Amber Hensley was in a Walmart parking lot in Fargo when she came across a car containing three Muslim women from Somalia who had parked too close to her car. Hensley, who lives in Mapleton (about 20 minutes out of Fargo), launched an astonishing verbal volley of racist rhetoric at 21-year-old Sarah Hassan, her sister Leyla (who is 20), as well as their friend, 23-year-old Rowda Soyan. Sarah recorded Hensley’s abuse on camera, and says that this kind of hate speech is all too common in the area.
“She started talking about my sister’s eyes, because she has like, crossed eyes. I was like, why are you saying this stuff to my sister? We were like, ‘is there any problem?’ She was like, ‘can’t you see her eyes?’ You are bad words and Muslims and we are going to kill you all. Actually, this kind of discrimination happens every single day to all people here. She started threatening me that she’s gonna kill us. That’s when I had to take out my phone and I started recording everything there.”
Hassan posted footage of the exchange to Facebook, where the video has generated over a million views. It even reached Hensley’s employers Horab & Wentz, who were inundated with calls and e-mails about her behaviour, and have since fired her from the company.
“Horab & Wentz does not agree with or support the statements expressed by Amber Hensley in the recently posted video. Ms Hensley is no longer employed with Horab & Wentz effective immediately.”
In the wake of the outrage and her subsequent termination, Amber Hensley has apologised for her behaviour and admitted there were “absolutely no excuses”. She also met with the Hassan sisters to extend an olive branch.
“It was not a Christian like thing to do AT ALL and wish I could take it back, but I lost my cool and I can’t. I am terribly sorry. I just wish that the whole video could be shown. And the things that were stated before she starts taping. She had parked way too close to my car and I couldn’t get in, when I asked her to move she refused, I asked her again and she swore at me calling me a fat b***h. But there are absolutely no excuses. I am in tears with regret and will take any form of punishment deemed fit.”
Fargo police are currently investigating the incident, but as yet, no charges have been filed.