Moorhead Police Searching for Suspect in Hijab Harassment Case
Despite previous media reports, charges are possible if they find the suspect
MOORHEAD, Minn. — After a Moorhead woman was harassed for wearing her hijab, officers say charges against the suspect are possible, contrary to other media reports.
They are still trying to figure out exactly who the suspect is.
Family members say Fardoso Mohamed was shopping in the Moorhead Hornbacher’s with her one-year-old son on Monday when an older man asked Mohamed to take off her hijab.
“She just ignored him and walked, so he kept following her,” said Hamida Dakane, a family member of Fardoso. “Told her a couple of times, ‘remove the hijab, remove the hijab,’ and then violently in her face and she was scared.”
Mohamed called her family for help first.
They told her to call police.
By the time police and family members arrived, the suspect was already gone.
“He left the store immediately after being verbally confronted by an employee,” explained Moorhead police Lt. Tory Jacobson.
When Hamida Dakane arrived, she took video of Mohamed telling an officer what happened.
It exploded on social media, garnering national attention.
Many people, including members of a Minneapolis Muslim rights activist group, urged the police department to reconsider pressing charges.
Lt. Tory Jacobson told us other media reports claimed no charges would be made.
“At no point did we say that we wouldn’t pursue charges,” said Jacobson.
They can’t press charges if they don’t have a suspect.
“We still have not identified the male in this incident as of this time,” said Jacobson. “So as you can see, it’s clearly still an open investigation with the possibility of charges. I’ve contacted The Forum to explain the context of the investigation because again, we’re limited on how much information we have.”
Hearing hurtful comments is common according to Hamida, but she said something as bad as this hasn’t happened to her.
“As for myself, I get, ‘hey, go back to wherever the hell you came from,’ and stuff like that,” described Hamida. “But someone has never intimidated, followed me around.”
Hamida hopes her video inspires others to report incidents like this in the future instead of simply standing by.
“My hope for this is people to speak up against this kind of violence, not just Muslims particularly, but everybody,” said Hamida. “Let’s keep our community safe for everyone.”
We reached out to Fardoso, but she was not available for comment at the time.