GARLAND, Texas - A man believes he was the target of road rage in Garland because his is Muslim.
Omair Siddiqi works for the Council on American Islamic Relations in Dallas and does outreach on behalf of the Muslim community. He says another driver followed him as he was leaving a gas station in Richardson and attempted to run him off the road.
“It's scary,” said Siddiqi. “People don’t realize that Islamophobia is real and it's happening.”
Siddiqi says it started at a Shell gas station where he was pumping gas while listening to an audio recording of the Quran. He says he remembered a white pickup nearby and saw it again shortly after leaving the gas station.
“He was just driving very aggressively,” said Siddiqi. “Switching lanes and tying trying to get next to me.”
He says the truck with an ‘American Infidel’ sticker in the back window eventually pulled up next to him.
“I can clearly hear him saying, ‘You effing rag-head! Go back to your country. I'm going to kill you.’” Siddiqi said. “When he said that, he turned his truck towards my car in a maneuver basically to hit me. When he did that, I did turn to the left, almost hitting a light pole.
Siddiqi says he avoided hitting anything and called 911 as the truck drove away. Initially, he says a Garland officer said there was nothing he could do, explaining there was no damage or injury. Siddiqi followed up with a supervisor.
"One of our officers was able to follow up and determined that an offense did occur. A report of Terroristic Threat, which is a class B Misdemanor, has been made and our detectives will be following up," said Lt. Pedro Barineau with the Garland Police Department.
In the meantime, Siddiqi, who was born and raised in the U.S., says he has a message for the man who told him to go back to his own country.
“Don't just attack Muslims when you see a Muslim,” said Siddiqi. “That doesn't solve anything. That doesn't do anything but just get to no one.”
Garland police say, depending on what a detective finds, the case could be referred to the district attorney who would make that call.