Two Muslim Women Encounter Gross Islamphobia at a Texas Restaurant

December 7th 2015

Taylor Bell

They say that everything is bigger in Texas — cars, houses, parties but Islamophobia? Some might have reason to say that after two Muslim women were humiliated and brought to tears in a Texas cafe.

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Leilah Abdennabi and her friend Sirat Al-Nahi went to the Kerbey Lane Cafe in Austin, Texas for a bite to eat, but after a exchange with a racist patron they never got to have lunch. They described what happened on Facebook:

I have never felt more dehumanized and humiliated than I did this morning. Leilah and I went to go grab breakfast at...

Posted by Sirat Al-Nahi on Sunday, December 6, 2015

As Al-Nahi waited in line for a table, she saw a man peering out through the window of the cafe, closely watching her friend park. After commenting on her parking skills, the man said, "She should just go back to Saudi Arabia and where she came from," according to a post on Al-Nahi's Facebook page.

"I literally couldn’t believe he said that and I asked him to repeat what he had just said. Maybe I should have let it go, maybe I set myself up for this, but I couldn’t believe what he said and I guess I hoped someone would have the humanity to acknowledge it because their silence hurt just as much as his words."

But no one said anything, even after he repeated his remarks and taunted her saying, "What? You have a gun in there? Just go ahead and shoot me.”

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It was at this time Abdennabi, a Chicago-born Palestinian American, returned from parking her car and found Al-Nahi crying, Raw Story reports. Both women now stood there horrified but yet, no one stepped in to deescalate the situation the way they had hoped. The only thing the restaurant offered to do was seat the man on the opposite side of the cafe, to the dismay of the women.

"At that point, neither of us were comfortable staying. I asked to speak to a manager and she told me she was not going to do anything about it," Abdennabi said in a Facebook post.

My friend and I just experienced Islamophobia in Austin. This is the first time this has happened to me in Austin....

Posted by Leilah IA on Sunday, December 6, 2015

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While Abdennabi talked to the manager, she noticed the man starring at them again which caused Abdennabi to go confront him. But once more, the man began to taunt them, this time, asking Abdennabi if she had a gun. This was the last straw for the women. But before they left they called out the lack of humanity of the entire restaurant.

"As we were leaving I told the people watching 'Just so you know, we were told racist things and this restaurant doesn't feel the need to address it because who cares about us?' Another white guy shouted 'Nobody'. No one else said or did anything... and that's what makes these experiences 1000x worse is the people just silently watching."

Kerbey Lane Cafe said that it had apologized to Abdennabi and Al-Nahi, according to Raw Story. The cafe had this statement:

“We do not condone discriminatory comments or behavior in any way, shape, or form; and according to our policy the guest who made these hateful comments to another guest should have been asked to leave our restaurant. This was a mistake made by our management, and we are addressing it with that individual. For anyone who has any concerns about Kerbey Lane’s policies, please contact us directly at or [email protected]

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