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Woman Charged With Hate Crime For Allegedly Harassing Saudi Arabian PSU Student

<p>The Multnomah County Courthouse in downtown Portland.</p>
<p>The Multnomah County Courthouse in downtown Portland.</p>

The Multnomah County district attorney’s office announced Friday it is charging a 23-year-old woman with a hate crime, after she allegedly harassed a Saudi Arabian foreign exchange student wearing a hijab.  

Jasmine Renee Campbell is accused of grabbing an unnamed Portland State University student’s hijab and attempting to choke her with it last November at a downtown Portland MAX train station.  

According to court documents, the 24-year-old student was able to push Campbell away, though Campbell forcibly removed the woman's hijab. Campbell then completely undressed except for a jacket, according to the affidavit, and rubbed the victim’s hijab on parts of her naked body.

Campbell told police she was “fighting and playing around, that she wanted to be a stripper, that she wanted to show the victim that she did not have to be a Muslim,” according to court documents.  

"It's one of the things that's showing there's a persistent targeting of Muslim women that's happening in this country that is really scary," said Zakir Khan, board chair of Oregon's Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Campbell is charged with two counts of second-degree bias crime, one count of attempted strangulation, one count of harassment and one count of third-degree criminal mischief.

Campbell was arrested by Portland police last month for an unrelated crime. She did not appear at a scheduled court date Friday morning, the Multnomah County DA’s office said.

The student said in court documents that, for safety, she now wears a knit cap and scarf to cover herself instead of a hijab.

"To see the impact that this had upon the survivor, now feeling scared to wear her hijab is really a tragedy. It's a really, really significant tragedy," Khan said.

"And it's something that Muslim women all across this country are having to start to think about. And they shouldn't have to think about that. They should be able to just freely exercise their religion without any fear of reprisal or attacks."

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting