A woman was told to put on a mask inside a Florida Walgreens. Instead she went on a racist and Islamophobic rant against other customers.
Counter-protesters hold a sign across from a rally against Islamic law in Seattle on Saturday, June 10, 2017. Associated Press / Ted S. Warren
One woman unleashed an Islamophobic and racist joke about a family shopping in a Florida Walgreens.
The incident, which went viral, began after staff members told the woman to wear a mask.
Instead, she turned to a couple and their friend.
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A New York couple stopped by a Walgreen while on vacation in Fort Lauderdale and were confronted with anti-Islamic and racial ranting by a woman who had declined an employee's request to wear a mask.
The video of the incident, which Nahla Ebaid, an Egyptian woman, uploaded to Facebook, went viral. Ebaid told Insider that she and her husband and friend Angie Elyamani were shopping in the store when the woman walked in maskless.
A clerk asked the woman to put on a mask, and instead she turns and focuses her attention on the group.
"She rolls her eyes and looks at me and says, 'You know, I wish I was from your country, so I don't have to wear the mask," said Elyamani.
The suspect, identified as Lubyca Bozanich in an insider-reviewed police report, also spat on Ebaid's husband, Tamir Elhadad.
In videos posted online by Ebaid, the woman can be heard calling Elyamin and Ebaid, who are both wearing hijab, being "ugly" and making fun of the way they are dressed.
"Why do you have such clothes?" Bozanich said in the video. "You are ugly! No wonder people hate you! Israelis rule because you are ugly."
Ebaid said the women also yelled at racist swear words, including the N word, at a black employee and later at a black police officer who was on the scene alongside anti-Asian sentiments.
Elyamin said Bozanich stared at her from the moment she walked into the store.
"She looked me up and down," said Elyamin. "I felt like I was being targeted."
Ebaid said she started recording because she was concerned. Her original intention was to record what was happening for the police, but she had no intention of posting the video online.
Contribution by Nahla Ebaid.
Bozanich can be seen calling the police on video while hurling racist statements against the family.
"There are Muslims here who are threatening me," she said.
An employee intervenes and says to Bozanich: "Leave them alone. They are human."
Bozanich replies: "No, they are not. They are Muslims."
When the police showed up, they arrested Bozanich. In the video, an officer asked her where she was originally from. She replied that she was originally from Ukraine. The officer says to her: "Then why don't you go back to Ukraine?"
When she was handcuffed, Bozanich asked the officers not to arrest her and said she had Muslim friends. Elhadad can be heard saying that he will forgive her, but Elyamin and Ebaid said that they cannot yet forgive the woman.
"I hate watching the video. I hate watching the video. It really hurts me. I feel hurt again. I've lost my rights," said Elyamin.
Ebaid said it was not an easy decision to make the video public, but she wanted to send a message to Muslims to stand up for themselves and call the police in such situations and that they also have rights.
"I want people to learn about Islam and really know what Islam is about. At the same time, everyone who is Muslim is silent about none of it. You have to get up, you have to call the police. You have to get it. " your rights, "said Elaymin.
Omar Saleh, an Islamic Relations Council attorney who helped Obeid, says the couple currently have no plans to bring legal charges. However, he added that Bozaniach appears to be a licensed psychotherapist and they are looking for ways to raise this concern with an authorization panel as they believe she is not qualified to help people.
A Google search yielded results for a physiotherapy company run by Bozaniach.
"I think it will be important to reach out to the boards of directors who are responsible for issuing these licenses. I think if she's a licensed therapist or a medical professional or whatever, a professional license she has, if we find out, I will advise Nahla to find her. A complaint to this board about this behavior because I don't want anyone like this to treat people. That is an option, but I don't think it will go beyond that " said Saleh.
Ebeid added: "We have to protect people from this woman. How is she a physiotherapist, a doctor, how come?"
Elyamin said the character the woman showed towards them "doesn't suit her job at all".
Insider asked Bozanich for a comment.
While the incident was troubling, both Elyamin and Ebeid said they would continue to proudly wear their hijabs.
"We are Muslim and we are proud to be Muslim and that won't change, we won't start our hijabs. We like it and I'm not scared," said Ebeid.
Walgreens did not respond to Insider's email request for comment at the time of publication.
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