- Associated Press - Friday, December 2, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Charges won’t be filed against a woman who yelled at a Muslim shopper in an Albuquerque grocery store and called her a “terrorist,” according to police. The shopper was wearing a hijab, a type of headscarf worn by some Muslim women.

The Muslim woman was not physically attacked or afraid that she was going to be, police told The Albuquerque Journal (https://bit.ly/2gPQZHM), so charges won’t be filed against the ranting woman. The incident occurred just before Thanksgiving at a Smiths grocery store.

Employees stood between the two women, took the yelling woman to the parking lot and later escorted the Muslim shopper to her car.

The shopper said the other woman yelled slurs but didn’t take any other actions, according to Albuquerque police spokesman Fred Duran.

“Based on (officers’) investigation of what the woman was doing, it was determined she was within her rights and that would fall under freedom of speech,” Duran said.

Police believe they know who the shouting woman is, Duran said. They believe it is a person known to frequent the area and who has a history of mental illness and drug problems, but they can’t be certain.

“The authorities have to follow the guidelines of the law. If you go around prosecuting everybody shouting a slur,” it’s not practical, said Islamic Center of New Mexico President Abbas Akhil.

Akhil said the young Muslim woman attends his mosque, which sent a package of baklava to the Smiths grocery store and its manager for stepping in to help a member of their community.

“What was really heartwarming was the fact that the customers immediately came to her, and the Smiths staff escorted her to her car and saw her off,” Akhil said. “That’s really what I would expect from Albuquerque. Ours is a very multicultural city, and people are very generous and accepting.”

He said he plans to write to the Smiths corporation to praise the staff.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com

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