A Muslim schoolboy from Brooklyn was kicked off a bus for reciting a prayer in Arabic to help him find his bus pass in the vehicle.
The Islamophobic bus driver, who called the 10-year-old a “terrorist” whilst he read out a dua (prayer) when searching for his MetroCard, is now facing lawsuit charges.
Hyder Naqvi, who is the lawyer for the boy and his family, said: “(The child) said it as he was trying to find his card so he could get it. He’s a young boy, but he’s old enough to know what discrimination is.”
According to the Brooklyn Federal Court suit, the alarming incident took place as the child was boarding the B-39 bus on his way home from school in Sheepshead Bay around 2:45 pm on October 2012.
The anxious schoolboy couldn’t find his card and sought assistance from Allah by reciting a dua out loud.
“I start in the name of God, the most merciful, the most beneficent,” the boy said, according to the suit. Uttering “Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim” apparently worked when the boy found his card and started to board again.
But the unidentified driver had an anti-Muslim outburst as soon as he heard the Arabic, shouting the hateful slur and forcing the boy back and closing the doors, the court heard on Monday.
Mr Navqi told the New York Post: “He told his parents what happened, and they were obviously upset by it.”
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) representatives met with them and provided pictures of various drivers to identify the Islamophobe — but the family were never told who the person was, the lawyer said.
Mr Naqvi added: “They decided at that point to seek counsel.”
Charging religious discrimination and civil-rights abuses, the family is suing the agency and the driver for unspecified damages.
The MTA declined comment.