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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hate Crime at Florida Sam's Club?

[D]erar Ahmad, 30, a Largo resident of Palestinian descent, was shopping at Sam's Club, 2575 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., on Jan. 24 when he was verbally and physically assaulted by another customer....

Ahmad, a gas station manager, said he was speaking on his cell phone to his wife in Arabic when he entered the store. A man whom Ahmad said he had never seen before came running up to him and started yelling anti-Islamic and anti-Arab slurs.

"F--- your Allah," Ahmad said the man shouted. "F--- your Mohammed."

Ahmad said the man jabbed his finger at his head, forcing him to look down and shouted that Ahmad needed to go back to his own country.

Bedier and Ahmad said no Sam's Club employee intervened. When a security guard approached the two, Ahmad said, the guard told the men to take care of their business outside.

Another customer in the store, Deborah Butler, 45, witnessed the incident and said she first thought the men knew each other and were joking. When she realized the shouting was more serious, she called 911.

Butler and Ahmad said the security guard warned the unidentified man to leave before police arrived....

"They said words, didn't even make me feel like a human," Ahmad said.

Butler, a St. Petersburg resident, said she will no longer shop at Sam's Club. [Link]

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