Good Samaritan 101: Policemen Punished for Harassment of Muslim Woman

Posted on February 6, 2007

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by Sean Murphy
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — A police officer in the small eastern Oklahoma town of Webbers Falls was fired and another was demoted after a Muslim woman claimed they harassed her about her religion during a traffic stop in November, a town official confirmed Thursday.

The town’s council members agreed to fire officer James Wagoner and demote Capt. Joe Garrett after a complaint was filed against them by Nadiah Yusuf, a kindergarten teacher from Little Rock.

The actions against the two officers were detailed in a letter council members sent to Yusuf. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Associated Press. Councilman Richard Cude confirmed the actions.

“That’s what we agreed on at the last council meeting,” Cude said. “If they did wrong, I think they should be punished.”

Yusuf, a Muslim who was wearing a hijab, or head scarf, said she was stopped for speeding along Interstate 40 on Nov. 4 while returning from a teacher’s conference in Tulsa, Okla. Five colleagues were in the car with Yusuf.

She claimed Garrett and Wagoner repeatedly questioned her about her religion and Garrett asked her if she had any connection to the “guy who flew the plane into the building.”

Yusuf, 36, said the officers also questioned her about whether there was a Quran, Islam’s holy book, in her car. [more]

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