In a series of videos posted to Facebook, Albany man Wazim Sookhai, an American citizen, is seen being threatened, spit on and verbally and physically assaulted by a white woman while heading to his mosque for prayers. She is heard screaming, “you cannot film people in America,” and proceeds to say he’s not a citizen, he’s “not blue,” and that she wants him “out of my f*****g country.” She says she’s going to have federal agents arrest him, “not Albany cops.” She says he’s “green at most,” but not “blue, bitch.”
In the video, he says she has no right to harass and threaten and assault her. Sookhai is seen calling for police to help him in the recording from Aug. 11.
“So this happened this morning on my way to prayer in Albany, NY. I got verbally abused, kicked and spit on because I’m a Muslim. Got it. I never experienced racism in this country until today. Yes it exists.”
In comments on his Facebook post, some suggested he should have fought back or struck her. Sookhai responded, “That’s what everyone said, but two wrongs can’t make 1 right.”
But many were supportive of this comment to Sookhai: “There are a lot of different types of crazy here.. You’re in public, it’s legal for you to film. Just understand that this is not how all people feel in this country. Americas foundation was built on taking in all walks of life. Sorry you had to go through this. Nobody should be persecuted based on their beliefs.”
The woman, who has not yet been identified based on a cursory online search, was reported to have been harassing others in the vicinity of a the state capitol before the incident with Sookhai and the filming of her anti-Muslim threats of violence.
Ismail Batmaz, a friend of Sookhai’s who intervened, wrote that the woman was “…standing by the sidewalk and literally pointing out each person passing by ( hundreds of them from the parking lot walking to the capital center) and swearing at them one by one just because of their religion. Including kids, infants, women, elderly etc.”
Batmaz wrote that, “Actually tens of hundreds of people were only walking down from the parking lot to the prayer and she was yelling screaming and swearing each of them as they pass by. Can’t even write the words here.”
Sookhai said that he “did not engage,” with the woman until she “came up to (his) face.”
“A group of people were walking towards prayer location and the last started her racist rants, guessing because no one else paid her no mind she rushed up to me since I was the last person on the line. That’s when Ismail came and tried to get her away from me because I had a baby bag in my hand. We tried to leave multiple times and she kept following us. We don’t know what she have in those bags so we needed to stay alert. The video also shows her following us and assaulting me. So no, I didn’t bother to engage until she came up to my face.”
He said that he did speak to police and they told him they’d keep a look out for her.
“So the two officers that were on scene the day of the incident were looking for her and couldn’t find her since there are multiple parking garages in the area. I didn’t have time to file a report since I was busy preparing to open my business and preparing to travel to South America the following day. Officers on scene said they’ll keep an eye out.”