On Saturday morning, Farheen Iqbal returned to her UC Davis apartment and found pork tenderloins left outside her door and windows. It was the first time in her four years at the university where she ever felt attacked for being Muslim.
“I’m scared. All this is happening around Davis,” said Iqbal, “The mosque was broken down, everything was shattered. It doesn’t feel good knowing only Muslims are being targeted here.”
UC Davis Police are investigating the incident, calling it a hate crime.
“[My roommates and I] don’t even wear hijabs,” said Iqbal, who is originally from Pakistan. “So I’m shocked to be targeted when they don’t even know if we are Muslims or not.”
Nida Ahmed is also a senior at UC Davis. She’s the Vice President of the Muslim Student Association and does wear a hijab. Part of her leadership role on campus is to represent the Muslim community.
“When you encounter people with prejudices against you, it’s like you have to work twice as hard to get on their good side,” said Ahmed. “It builds briges and forms connections. That’s one of my favorite feelings.”
Ahmed said she wants people who aren’t Muslim to know that they are part of this community and want to contribute, especially since this is the second hate crime against Muslims in Davis just this year.
Many are feeling the underlying prejudices.
“I can tell when someone sees me thinking ‘That’s a Muslim girl,'” said Iqbal. “They wouldn’t say anything maybe but they’d look.”
In response to the recent string of hate crimes, local businesses are showing love. Coffee shops like Common Ground have signs of a Muslim woman wearing a hijab that says they welcome everyone.
“Seeing that in our little bubble gives me and students hope,” said Ahmed. “With hatred in our nation and the rhetoric, in our space, we’re doing what we can to make our community better.”
This incident is currently unsolved and an investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about this or similar incidents should call UCDPD at 530-754-COPS (2677).