Sania Kamran says it all began at Wal-Mart.

The 27-year-old mother of four lives in Douglasville, Georgia, about 45 minutes from Atlanta. Born in Pennsylvania, she describes herself as “white, blond hair, blue eyes.” She says she’s been a Muslim for about five years, and she’s married to a Muslim man who came here from Pakistan.

She shops at her local Wal-Mart several times a week, she says, and it was there that she began noticing the hostility of other customers.

Over the course of several months, she says she saw “that snide look” when she was at the store with her young children and her husband, since they are all darker than she is.

And she says some people would comment on her Muslim attire and ask, “How could you wear something like that?”

Or, she says, they would ask, “Don’t you feel bad for making your daughter dress that way?”

But she endured these slings until one day in late March.

Here’s the Wal-Mart encounter, as she recalls it:

“A customer, an older lady in her mid-60s, says, ‘Ma’am, where are you from?’ ”

“I say, ‘Pittsburgh, P.A.’ ”

“Where is your husband from?”


“You ought to be ashamed of yourself then.”

“Why should I be ashamed of myself?”

“Because our forefathers died to give us the rights and freedoms we have, and you’re giving it all up by being a Muslim.”

Kamran says she responded by saying that her father was a Vietnam vet, and that he also served in the Gulf War and Desert Storm. “He served our country for 26 years,” she recalls saying. “Because of people like my father and others, I have the right to choose who I’m going to pray to and who I’m going to be.”

After the conversation ended, Kamran says she didn’t pay any mind to it.

Until, that is, a few days later.

She was back at Wal-Mart, and when she walked out to the parking lot, she noticed something. “I went to open up the hatch to our van and in the dust on the window they’d written ‘Killers.’ ”

She thinks it might have had something to do with the fact that she had “Proud2B a Muslim” written on her license plate frame.

“I was disgusted,” she says. “Someone touched my property that had no right to.”

She drove home, she says, and called her husband, and he told her to “wash it off and just let it go.”

At that point, she says she wasn’t scared. “OK, they wrote on my car. No big deal,” she remembers feeling.

But then, about a week later, in the early morning hours of April 8, it became a big deal.

“I woke up to nurse my eight-month-old,” she recalls. “While I was feeding him, I heard like a pop. I wasn’t sure what it was. At first, I thought it was my neighbor’s car door. Then I saw a flicker, like a flame. I thought some idiot had lit our garbage can as a prank. But then I saw smoke coming out of my van, and I screamed for my husband.”

They called 911, and then sat on their front steps and watched the van burn, she says.

One fireman drew their attention to something else. “He pointed to our garage, and they had spray-painted across it, ‘Killers go home.’ ”

“It felt as if someone had just kicked us in the gut,” she says. “What had we done to anybody to deserve that? I sat on our front stoop crying my eyes out.”

Kamran says the Douglas County police have been slow to investigate, but the FBI is now on the case.

Calls to the Douglas County police were not returned.

According to an AP story, “Douglas County Chief Deputy Stan Copeland said evidence from the scene has been submitted to the state crime lab and that police patrols in the neighborhood have been stepped up.”

The FBI acknowledges that it is looking into the incident.

“The preliminary investigation is still ongoing," says Special Agent Stephen Emmett, spokesperson for the FBI's Atlanta office. "Upon its conclusion, it will be forwarded to the civil rights division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., for review.”

Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, says the incident is an example of “growing Islamophobia.”

Kamran says she is no longer wearing Muslim garb. “We can’t afford to lose another vehicle,” she says. “It makes me mad. I’m proud to be who I am and what I am. I shouldn’t have to be a Muslim in secret. But my husband said I know who I am inside, and I don’t need to advertise it to everybody else.”

She wishes, though, that “people would read about our religion and not just believe what they hear on TV,” she says. “Everyone thinks now that I’m a Muslim I’m oppressed. It’s not like that.” She says she was married before, to a Methodist, which was her religion at the time, too. “He treated me bad,” she says. “My husband treats me wonderfully.”

She says her experience has opened her eyes. “It wasn’t until I became Muslim that I realized what other minorities feel,”

she says. “And it’s pathetic.”

Today, she thinks she safe in her home. “Maybe it’s a false sense of security,” she adds. “But when I go outside, I am fearful. I don’t know what, if anything, they’ll do next. My oldest kid is supposed to go to school in August, and we’re second-thinking that.”

She says her neighbors have been very nice, though.

“One lady up the street went to a honey-baked ham place and got us a turkey dinner with a green bean casserole and a sweet potato pie," she says. “Another neighbor purchased three new car seats for us since our old ones were burned up in the van. And another gave us a $100 disc player.”


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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

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