NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 9:50 PM
A Muslim man in a California park couldn’t even pray without being attacked for his religion.
Rasheed Albeshari said he was praying near volleyball courts at Lake Chabot Regional Park in the Bay Area, when he was harassed by a California prison worker. And it was all captured on camera.
The video shows Denise Slader approaching Albeshari. Slader, a 10-year employee of the California Department of Corrections, screamed, “Allah is Satan” and the “Koran is evil,” Albeshari said.
“Your mind has been taken over, brainwashed, and you have nothing but hate,” Slader yelled in her Islamophobic rant.
When a park officer arrived, Albeshari said that Slader was insulting his religion. But the only part of the exchange Slader found inappropriate was her hateful words being recorded.
She attacked the cameraman with her umbrella and then threw a cup of coffee in his face, Albeshari said.
Police arrived and took reports from both groups, but did not arrest Slader, East Bay Regional Park District public information officer Carolyn Jones told the Daily News.
Cops have recommended she be charged with misdemeanor battery, but it will be up to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office to decide if she committed a hate crime.
It would be a hate crime if she attacked Albeshari because he was Muslim, Jones said, not because he was filming her.
The district attorney’s office is still investigating the incident, and will reach a full review by next week, spokeswoman Rebecca Richardson told The News.
Albeshari never believed he would have been attacked for his religion in California.
“I never thought this would ever happen to me here. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling,” he told the Arab American News.
Jones couldn’t believe it happened at the park either. She said the East Bay was an extremely diverse area, and it was very rare to see discrimination like Slader’s.
“I think people pray in the parks every day,” she said. “There’s people of all religions that are in the park every day.”
Slader has been working as a program technician for parole operations with California’s Department of Corrections for about 10 years, Jeffrey Callison, a corrections department spokesman, said.
The department is launching an internal investigation on Slader after seeing the video.
“We expect all of our employees to treat everyone with dignity and respect both on and off the job,” he said.