This soldier didn’t hesitate to speak up when a young man started harassing a Muslim cashier, refusing to be served by him because “he’s a Muslim.”
Anti-Muslim sentiment reared its ugly head in the wake of the September 11th attacks on America and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign seems to have made matters worse.
In the video, below, ABC’s What Would You Do (#WWYD) runs a social experiment to see what might happen when a Muslim finds himself being harassed by a white male American.
#WWYD traveled to the town of Kingston in Upstate New York, “not far from where a Mosque was desecrated in 2010,” to run their experiment. #WWYD sets the scene pointing out that “Muslim-Americans are no strangers to stereotypes,” adding that “more than a decade after 9/11 hate crimes against Muslims are on the rise and the Boston Marathon bombing has them facing even more backlash.”
For those unfamiliar with the program, “What Would You Do?” by ABC is a hidden camera series where people are put into ethical dilemmas, given the choice between passively accepting injustice and standing up for what they believe is right.
They set up shop at the Home Plate Deli using two actors: Meena, who plays a Muslim working the counter, and Oliver, who plays a racist customer. Several individual are seen standing up for Meena, many of them confronting Oliver about his bigotry. In an interesting turn, one person agrees with Oliver and joins in with the racist taunting. For the final test, a member of the United States Army steps up to the counter, and Oliver goes to work. At first the soldier laughs but he quickly defends Meena, telling Oliver that:
“We live in America, he can have whatever religion he wants.”
When Oliver continues to press his bigoted opinion, the soldier tells him:
“You have a choice to shop anywhere, just like he has the choice to practice his religion anywhere. That’s the reason I wear the uniform, so anyone can live free in this country.”
When the show’s host John Quinones steps in, the soldier downplays his heroics.
“Heroes come in many shapes and sizes. That wasn’t heroic at all. That was just being a person. … If you’re an American, you’re an American. Period.”
You can watch the clip, below: