Facing Increased Threats, Muslim Women Learn Self-Defense

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many Muslim woman are on alert after increasing attacks against them, and some are so fearful they are taking steps to defend themselves.

They come from all over New York City — women bonded by an unfortunate threat.

“I’m here to learn and take something from this workshop like to protect myself,” one woman said.

“To be safe and to know what to do if something happens,” another said.

One said she knows the dangers first-hand.

“She grabbed my hijab and my face cover and she stated shouting, ‘you will all be in prison, you will all go to jail,” she said.

The Muslim Community Network said a recent increase in hate crimes inspired the organization to offer a self-defense class, having no idea that nearly 3,000 women would sign up.

“We didn’t expect this, so it was really emotional and heartbreaking for me. I’m like really 2,700 people wanted to attend a self-defense class?” Emaan Moosani said. “I felt really awful.”

The women learned specific techniques to ward off attackers.

“It could be a strike, it could be a yell, it could be taking a deep breath, it could be walking away or it could be using your words. Anything that you need to do to keep yourself safe we considered self-defense,” Tish Tab, from the Center for Anti-Violence Education, said.

While the women hope they never have to employ the tactics, they all agreed preparation is the best way to fight off a predator.

Organizers said they were flooded with requests to take the class, and many want to have it offered on a regular basis.

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