In 2017, hate crimes, hate incidents and discrimination against Muslims rose in Southern California, according to a new report from the Council on American-Islamic Relations. According to the report, called "Targeted" 37 hate incidents took place in 2017, an increase from 17 the previous year.
Ahlam Shehab, a Cal State Los Angeles senior who wears a head scarf, or hijab, told Annenberg Media she was the target of an Anti-Muslim hate incident last month. She said she was denied an Uber ride because she is Muslim.
"It was shocking, it was very unwelcoming…" Shehab said. "I requested the Uber ride like I usually do," the 25-year-old said, recalling that the driver, "…came and I got inside the car. He drove for less than half a mile, and then he looked me in the mirror. He parked the car on the side, and he goes like 'can you please leave? I'm not taking you. I wouldn't give a ride to a Muslim with a hijab.'"
This is the latest anti-Muslim hate incident to take place in L.A. County. A new report by the council on american-islamic relations shows anti-Muslim incidents have increased in Southern California, and are up 15 percent across the nation.
"We are living in a different political climate nowadays," said Omar Ricci, chairman of the Islamic Center of Southern California.
"When the President of the United States says that Islam hates us, people who don't know about Islam — don't know about Muslims — look at that and they then act from a place of ignorance," Ricci said.
It remains unclear how Uber will punish the driver involved with this latest incident. In a statement to annenberg media, the ride share company said, "We take accusations like this very seriously and investigate every complaint. Uber's community guidelines call for mutual respect and zero tolerance for discrimination."
Shehab said she is not content with the ride share company's response. The biology major and aspiring dentist told Annenberg Media that Uber has spoken to her, and promised to "take action," but it remains unclear what, if anything, Uber has done, or will do, to punish the driver.
"[It is] not enough," she said, speaking of the company's response.
Despite her frustrations with Uber, Shehab hopes her story will encourage people to be more accepting of others who look different than they do.
"Never hate," she said. "There's no need for that."