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Muslim family claims driver harassed them, made obscene gestures on I-85

Cell phone video captured a man making obscene gestures at a Muslim family on I-85 in DeKalb County.

A Muslim family is asking for public help to identify two men in a white pickup truck who allegedly swerved into their lane while driving along I-85 in DeKalb County and made obscene gestures at a mother in the front seat, who was wearing a traditional head scarf – or hijab.

The woman’s husband filed a police report with DeKalb County Police after the incident, stating he was driving his family on I-85 near the Chamblee Tucker Road exit when a white Ford Ranger pulled beside their car and swerved, forcing him into another lane.

The man reported that the driver and passenger made obscene facial expressions and hand gestures while doing this. He told police he believed his family was targeted his family was “obviously Muslim” and his wife, sitting in the front passenger seat, was wearing a hijab.

The family captured the incident on cellphone video and shared it with DeKalb County Police and the Georgia chapter of CAIR – the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.

The family has retained a civil rights attorney with CAIR to help identify the suspects. They wish to remain anonymous until the suspects have been identified and located.

“Driving while Muslim should not put a family’s life at risk,” said attorney Edward Ahmed Mitchell, the executive director of CAIR-Georgia. “We expect law enforcement to identify the men responsible for this incident, and pursue criminal charges against them. If any members of the public recognize the suspects or their vehicle, please alert us or the police.”

Cell phone video of the incident provided by CAIR shows the front seat passenger of the white truck sticking his tongue out and flashing his two middle fingers at the car. The driver swerved his pickup truck into the family’s lane of travel and hit his brakes, forcing them to brake on the freeway.

DeKalb County Police officials said they have also received a copy of the cell phone video but has not released it to the public, pending an investigation. 

“The obvious explanation for this unprovoked, profane and dangerous harassment is hostility toward this family’s visible religious identity,” said Murtaza Khwaja, a staff attorney with CAIR-Georgia. “Far too many American Muslims, people of color, and other minorities must regularly videotape incidents of harassment they experience in our nation.”

The truck driver and passenger are white males. The truck has a Georgia license plate with dents on the passenger side door.

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call DeKalb County Police, or contact CAIR-Georgia.