Local News

Muslim woman says man cursed, spat at her in Walmart

Posted October 29, 2010 4:18 p.m. EDT
Updated October 29, 2010 6:21 p.m. EDT

— A 66-year-old man is facing ethnic intimidation charges after he allegedly verbally abused a female Muslim-American customer at an Oxford Walmart on Tuesday. The woman is speaking out and says she doesn’t want this to happen to anyone else.

The 31-year-old woman, who asked not to be identified for safety purposes, said she went to Walmart to buy a carton of milk. Instead, she says, James Currin Jr., 66, confronted her and asked: “Hey, are you Muslim?” When she said yes, Currin began swearing, spitting at her and told her to go back “wherever you came from,” she said.

“I was frozen with fear. I was startled. I was frightened,” she said. “He’s actually there glaring at me, just going over me from head to toe, head to toe, head to toe. It was a blood-curdling stare.”

The woman says Currin followed her as she walked to the front of the store to find her mother and notify management. Store officials called Oxford police, who arrested Currin and brought him before a Granville County magistrate.

Police did not charge Currin with any crime since officers did not witness the encounter. However, they asked the woman to file charges – a procedure often used in misdemeanor cases.

Before leaving, the woman said she had one more run-in with Currin.

“(He) began to laugh. He was laughing at us,” she said.

According to the police report, Currin denied having a confrontation with the woman. He received a criminal summons and is due to appear in court on Nov. 29. WRAL News was unable to reach him for comment.

The woman says her faith means everything to her and she hopes pressing charges sends a clear message about how she was treated.

“For someone to attack me solely on the basis of my faith, it’s very alarming,” she said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, is calling for additional hate crime charges to be brought against Currin.

"An American-Muslim woman should be able to go about her daily routine without fear of being assaulted because of her faith," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "We urge local prosecutors and the FBI to consider additional charges based on the apparent bias-motive of the alleged assailant."