Man On Southwest Airlines Flight Rips Off Woman’s Hijab, Yells ‘This Is America!’


One effect of the rise of Donald Trump seems to be an increase in terrifyingly racist remarks, primarily from white people. It’s well known that Trump is a racist, sexist, xenophobic bigot who hopes to enact policies that will work to segregate America from the rest of the world; holding us back from the amazing progress the Obama administration has worked so hard to make.

Due to the recent political climate in this country, it’s almost unsurprising when acts such as the following occur.

Court documents released Friday detail an outrageously offensive incident that occurred on a Southwest Airlines flight last year, when a man from North Carolina physically ripped off a Muslim woman’s hijab from her head and yelled “This is America!”

The man, 37-year-old Gill Parker Payne pleaded guilty on Friday in a New Mexico federal court “to a misdemeanor hate crime charge of using force to intentionally obstruct the woman’s free exercise of her religious beliefs,” according to the Huffington Post.

December 11, 2015, Payne was aboard a Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago, Illinois to Albuquerque, New Mexico when he saw a woman clad in a hijab just a few rows in front of him.

The Muslim woman, who is being identified as “K.A.” by prosecutors, did not know Payne.

At the end of the flight, Payne approached the woman and yanked the hijab from her head, exclaiming something like “Take it off! This is America!”

Officials say the woman felt very violated, and with good reason. The hijab is a religious symbol many Muslim women wear out in public. Removing the hijab and fully exposing themselves is often something traumatizing and only reserved for their husbands or family members within the privacy of their own homes.

Payne’s lawyer had this to say regarding his actions:

‘Mr. Payne has taken responsibility for his actions and he’s sorry for them. He’s ready to begin the healing process and move forward.’

Payne’s plea agreement resulted in two months of home detention, which according to Fayerberg, was approved by the court on Friday. The conditions of his probation will be set out during a sentencing hearing soon to come.

Ironically (or maybe not so), the incident followed three days after Donald Trump’s disgusting announcement of his plans to ban all Muslims from entering the United States, should he become president. Now, the man who spreads these kinds of nauseating ideas is the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican party, and a lot of people see no problem with that.

Thanks to Trump and the hateful individuals he represents, anti-Muslim hate crimes are now on the rise as a result of the 2016 election. As the orange-haired loudmouth continues to spew his hateful bigotry around the country, seeing nothing wrong with his words, he’s actually influencing extreme acts of violence. According to the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University, Trump’s normalizing of hatred has influenced attacks on individuals’ basic human rights as well as their right to pursue their religious beliefs in peace.

Brian Levin, a criminologist at California State University in San Bernardino, gave the following statement to the New York Times following the surge in anti-Muslim hate crimes:

‘The terrorist attacks, coupled with the ubiquity of these anti-Muslim stereotypes seeping into the mainstream, have emboldened people to act upon this fear and anger.’

Americans need to understand that there is an important difference between free speech and hate speech. Unfortunately, Donald Trump is an idiot who can’t tell the difference between the two and has led his minion-esque followers to believe that hate speech is somehow tolerated in the United States of America. It’s up to those of us who have enough common sense to tell the difference to cast our votes wisely and show the orange-haired-comb-over-nut-job that those aren’t the values of decent American people.

Feature Image via Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

(h/t Huffington Post)