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Muslim photojournalist posts about facing racism at NY Starbucks; cops term hate speech as ‘freedom of speech’

“So insulting people based on how they look, where they come from, language they speak, is still considered freedom of speech?”

By: Trends Dek | Kolkata | Updated: November 21, 2016 12:39 pm
Definition of the word Racism in a dictionary Elshamy and his friends were at a Starbucks outlet when an American woman harassed them and make crude remarks. (Source: Thinkstock images)

Since the outcome of the US presidential elections 2016, there have been many reports of hate speeches and racial attacks in America. One of the recent incidents involved a 22-year-old photojournalist and his friend, while they were at a café in Manhattan, New York.

In a Facebook post shared by Mohammed Elshamy, the two were at a local Starbucks outlet when an American woman apparently yelled at them with some hateful remarks. Shocked and appalled by the lady’s remark to his female friend, he called the cops. But he alleges that the police did not take any action against the women making racist remarks.

The international award-winning photographer prefixed post by making it clear that he was not disclose the event to gain sympathy but to just ask an important question surrounding such speeches.

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Elshamy, wrote on his wall: “Yesterday sitting with a friend in a Starbucks coffee in midtown, white American woman tells us ‘F*****g Muslims, go back to where you f*****g came from, you’re so ugly’ looks at my friend who’s veiled and tells her ‘ugly w***e’”.

Disgusted, he called 911 and the police asked for his location. He set out of the café he found an NYPD patrol car and narrated the entire event. His post added that the police personnel said him “sorry” and said, “they curse us too”. But what’s shocking is what the cop’s argument followed – “it’s no 1 in American constitution, anyone can say whatever they want, it’s freedom of speech.”

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Elshamy in this post asked, “So insulting people based on how they look, where they come from, language they speak, is still considered freedom of speech?”

What he inferred from the incident was that the cops would only take action if someone was attacked physically and any derogatory remark was “freedom of speech”.

Read the full post here.

Elshamy, who works with Turkish News Agency is new in New York and had been living there for past few months, but is originally an Egyptian. He has won many awards for his coverage on Ebola, Boko Haram and Syrian refugee crises.

What he ends his post with, is probably the most important question of the time amid Islamophobia or xenophobia at large — “Police will intervene when the hate speech turns to a hate crime? Don’t they understand hate speech leads to hate incidents?”

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