ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, the number of threats against Muslims in Central Florida has significantly increased since the Paris attacks. The group is even holding special security training, passing out pepper spray, to help Muslims protect themselves if need be, and some families have already done the same.
Wardah Kahn, 28, is a new mom at home on maternity leave. She is Muslim, was born in New York, with family from the Caribbean. You can see she chooses to wear a hijab, or head cover, and she says that it has made her a target. "The sense of safety feels a little more compromised, especially for me as a covered person," she says. "And now that I have my son, I have to be a little more cautious."
Wardah has not received any sort of threats or harassment, but she says that since the attacks in Paris, she has noticed more disparaging looks. That, combined with the fact her family has heard reports of others being overtly threatened, prompted her father to buy her some pepper spray, something she says she'll use but hopes she never has to do so. "Actually, having him purchase pepper spray and give it to myself and two sisters, that gave me a moment of 'Wow! Have we actually gotten to this point?"
According to Rasha Mubarak with CAIR Central Florida, the number of threats and crimes against Muslims in our community has increased since the Paris attacks. Mubarak says, "We've had death threats against people and mosques in Central Florida. There are some instances of potential hate crimes, we are investigating."
We met with Mubarak at UCF where students held a vigil on Wednesday night to remember those lost in Paris, Syria, and other areas around the world last month. Mubarak says two Central Florida mosques are holding security training sessions this week where they will pass out pepper spray to help the Muslim community, especially covered women, protect themselves if need be.