Muslim leader calls on Stillwater officials to ensure safety after alleged weekend harassment

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Monday called on officials in Stillwater to take “concrete actions” to ensure the safety of people of color after bikers on Saturday allegedly harassed and intimated a Muslim mother and her child.

The woman, Sophia Rashid, of Minneapolis, told police that she was eating dinner with her 4-year-old daughter on the outdoor patio at Leo’s Grill and Malt Shop in downtown Stillwater when a group of men wearing black leather vests displaying the words “Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood” walked by. Rashid, who was wearing a hijab, said the men began pointing at her and making statements like “We’ve got our eye on you” and “We’re watching you,” according to police reports.

Three servers from Leo’s escorted Rashid and her daughter out of the restaurant area and stayed with them until police arrived; an officer later escorted Rashid and her daughter to their car.

“We thank the restaurant staff and the police officer who sought to protect the Muslim mother and her child, but public officials must take concrete steps to ensure that this type of harassment and intimidation targeting members of minority communities does not occur in the future,” Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN, said in a statement.

Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski said police on Monday were still trying to connect with Rashid. “She needs to work with investigators to figure out what is going on,” he said.

He said he also talked to Hussein and discussed whether business owners have a right to refuse service to people wearing symbols of hate or discrimination. They do, he said.

“There is going to be some good education coming out of this,” he said. “If anyone feels threatened in Stillwater, they have right to call the police and ask for assistance.”


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