(CBS) — Viral video of five Muslim girls berated by a man in a suburban restaurant continues to draw notice and generate discussion about intolerance.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois was so disturbed by the story, he asked to meet with the girls personally to talk about it, CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports.
Durbin listened intently Friday as Mai Ahmad talked about what happened to her and some friends Monday night inside a Pepe’s Mexican restaurant in Hickory Hills.
The girls say a man berated them because of their heritage. One of the girls recorded the incident on her cell phone.
The executive director of CAIR-Chicago says it’s another example of a disturbing trend in the U.S.
“As of 2016, there was a rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes in this country that was 44 percent from the year before – a 57 percent rise in overall Islam-a-phobic incidents,” he said.
Durbin says it’s important to stand up to that kind of discrimination.
“It is a terrible situation we need to speak out against — all of us, not just Muslim Americans and politicians, but everybody,” he said.
The outpouring of online support is also giving the girls hope.
“It’s amazing all this love that we’re getting, and, you know, the love outweighs the hate completely,” Ahmad says.
The girls hope their story will inspire others to stand up for themselves and prompt more people to step in when they see Muslims being attacked or bullied.
As for the incident they were involved in, Hickory Hills police say they’re making progress in the case.