A Muslim woman in East Atlanta recorded a disturbing encounter that took place when she confronted a man who was taking photos of her in a coffee shop without her permission.
Atlanta’s Creative Loafing magazine reported that 39-year-old Asma Elhuni — a graduate student in political science at Georgia State University and legislative intern to Democratic State Rep. Brenda Lopez — was studying at Joe’s Coffee Shop in East Atlanta Village when she looked up and realized a man was taking photos of her.
“I was just literally on my computer, minding my business, and I look up and see a guy with a camera pointing at me,” said Elhuni — who is Muslim and was wearing a hijab.
At first, she tried to ignore him, but he continued. When she addressed him, he said his name was Rob.
“I’m like, are you taking a picture of me?” she said to CL. “And he goes: ‘Yeah.’ Just like that! And so I was like: ‘OK, I’ll take a picture of you.’ And he smiled, and I was like, OK, I’m going to videotape him now.”
Rob — who said he’s from Detroit, but who commenters at CL‘s website claim is Robert Koehler of Columbus, Georgia — said, “Are you getting offended?”
He then sat down at Elhuni’s table and told her that she seemed “a little uptight.”
“Am I uptight?” Elhuni asked. “I’d like to know why you’re coming in here and taking a picture of me.”
He offered a story about how the coffee shop looked like “a cool place” and he wanted to take some photos of it, “being from Detroit.”
“I thought we were going to have a laugh,” Rob said, “share that on Facebook, but then you started acting like a b*tch.”
“Oh, so now I’m a b*tch?” Elhuni said.
“You are,” he replied, then asked, “Do you have a green card?”
Elhuni — an American citizen — asked incredulously, “So you think I’m not American?”
Then another man approached and corralled Rob out the door.
Elhuni posted the video to Facebook, writing, “Fight back with your cameras y’all. This is Rob from Detroit. He came in and thought it’s ok to take his camera out and take a pic of me. I asked are you taking s pic of me? He said yes. I said why, he said I want to. So I took out my phone and started recoding him. spread widely. Racists feel emboldened now.”
She told CL, “Really what I wanted to show him was, one, what he did was inappropriate, and two, I’m not afraid of you. Because did you see how he sat down and got in my face? I knew my weapon was my camera.”
Watch the video, embedded below: