U of M issues warning after student threatened for wearing hijab

- A University of Michigan student, threatened near campus for wearing a hijab.

It happened Friday night as she was walking along William Street and State Street.  The woman told police a stranger walked up to her and threatened to set her on fire using his lighter, if she did not remove her hijab. The student says she complied, and got away safely. Now police are looking for that suspect.

"I think it's a sign of racism and bigotry," U of M Senior Benjamin Chair told us. "I think it's a sign of people interpreting political events as excuses to act in ways that are antithetical to what we value as a country and as a campus."

Students received an email from the University of Michigan's Division of Public Safety and Division Saturday morning about the incident. In it, the school says the of "hate and intimidation" happened Friday evening between 5:30 and 7.

FOX 2 spotted several police vehicles in the area Saturday night. Officers have been talking to business owners in hopes of tracking surveillance video.

Students and local Muslim organizations believe the tense presidential election has caused some people to believe they can say whatever they want  to a person who may be different from them.

"Hateful words have a lot of impact," say Fatina Abdrabboh of the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee. "We as a community are very familiar with that impact, and we're just kind of bracing for impact to how things are going to unfold."

"I just find it so appalling," says Chair. "The climate on this campus is really tense. Especially given what happened last week, everyone is on edge a little bit. And to hear that strangers are walking up to innocent students on this campus who didn't do anything to irritate them and threatening them with violence is absolutely disgusting, even in a place like Ann Arbor."

At this time, there is only a vague description of the suspect. He is said to be a white, average height with an athletic build. The victim says he had bad body odor and was slurring his speech, and believes he may have been drunk. Ann Arbor Police are asking anyone with information to please give them a call.


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