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Student: Classmate in Trump shirt tried to remove hijab

Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal

A University of New Mexico freshman said a fellow student wearing a Donald Trump shirt attempted to remove the hijab from her head and implied she was a terrorist while she was in Zimmerman Library on Election Day.

The woman, who is Muslim, said she reported the incident to the UNM’s Office of Equal Opportunity, an agency that investigates discrimination. She provided a copy to the Journal.

She said she doesn’t want the man, who is in one of her classes, to be punished, but wants him to realize he was wrong.

“The Muslim community is just as patriotic as the next Trump supporter, or even more so because we believe in the American beliefs of freedom of religion, freedom of speech,” the woman told the Journal on Thursday. “We’re just as American as you are.”

Dianne Anderson, the university spokeswoman, said UNM can’t confirm or deny the case or provide information about specific OEO cases due to federal privacy laws. She did say the office received several reports about “hate and bias incidents over the past two days, and will be investigating and responding to those reports.”

The woman said she was sitting with some friends in Zimmerman Library on Tuesday when a man wearing a Trump shirt came up behind her, grabbed her head and tried to remove her black hijab. She struggled, then asked: “What’s your problem? What’s that for?”

He mentioned Trump and ended the conversation by saying, “I am going to sit down before you (throw) a grenade at me,” according to the report.

Among his policies, Trump has proposed at least temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States.

“I am not trying to expose anyone or get revenge,” she said. “I want to show people this is real.”

Tensions related to the presidential election have been growing since Wednesday, when a vandal or vandals tagged UNM’s campus with graffiti connecting Trump to Nazis.

Anderson said UNM has established a team to respond to incidents of hate and bias to “ensure our campus can heal and to prevent future incidents.”

The woman has not reported the incident to police and did not identify the classmate to UNM.

Authorities at San Diego State University said Thursday that they were investigating a reported attack on a Muslim student wearing a hijab on campus as a hate crime.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.