A state corrections worker in California is in hot water after a confrontation with Muslim men in an East Bay park that went viral in a Facebook video. In it, Denise Slader can be heard telling them: "You are very deceived by Satan. Your mind has been taken over, brainwashed and you have nothing but hate." After a park ranger intervenes and suggests she's being inappropriate, Slader moves toward the man videotaping her and strikes him, says a parks official, per the Los Angeles Times. "I started video taping her, I, also, was hit by an umbrella before taking a shower of coffee right on my face," wrote Rasheed Albeshari on Facebook. Slader could face hate-crime charges, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Albeshari says that Slader approached the group after they had finished praying on Sunday and that a friend "tried to calm her down, but that didn't work." She works as a program technician in the state correction department's parole division. "This kind of intolerance is totally unacceptable," says a spokesperson for the East Bay parks district. "It’s just appalling on 50 different levels." Slader was not arrested at the time, and it will be up to the local district attorney to determine whether a hate-crime charge is warranted. Albeshari, meanwhile, tells Arab American News that he's been gratified by the amount of support he's received from non-Muslim Americans after posting about the encounter. (Read more Muslims stories.)