by Jessie Karangu
Noor Tagouri, a senior journalism major at the University of Maryland, was in Tennessee speaking at Vanderbilt University when she decided to cover a court hearing in the area involving a new mosque cemetery being built.
The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee cemetery was approved for construction in January but opponents such as Lou Ann Zelenik, a Republican Party candidate for Congress in 2010, accused the center of having connections with terrorism.
Zelenik said that a former Islamic Center board member actively promoted terrorism on social media.
Zelenik and other opponents were not able to prove that accusation or argue any further in court though, after the judge in the case disqualified himself from making a ruling.
As the opponents were leaving the courtroom, Tagouri and other local journalists had cameras facing them to hear their thoughts on the court proceedings.
This is when all hell broke loose and Zelenik got into a shoving match with Tagouri and other journalists.
We’ll let the video tell the rest of the story.
On her Facebook page, Tagouri wrote:
Footage I got of being HARASSED by Lou Ann Zelenik and others after a court hearing.
Islamaphobia is alive and well in this part of the U.S. I’ve never, ever experienced anything like this in my entire life.
She also shared this photo from The Daily News Journal:
Zelenik gave her side of the story on Facebook and said that “the bullies were out in force” among other things:
Afterwards there were some from or for the islamic center that hid cameras and recording devices and snuck up behind people. They even said they were journalists. When they were caught, I asked them to leave, and later for a card or a name, all refused.
Despite Zelenik’s claims of being bullied, social media seems to be on Tagouri’s side:
MY TAKE: This video was EPIC because it taught me a lot about my role in society.
My favorite line was “I don’t want to be on Al-Jazeera.” It’s great to know, according to #ZelenikLogic, that any journalist wearing a hijab automatically works for Al-Jazeera.
As a black man, it’s great to know that the only place I can work for as a journalist throughout my whole career is BET. #ZelenikLogic