The woman set off for a hike on Monday, said Carolyn Jones, public information supervisor for the East Bay Regional Park District.
When she returned to her car at the California park, however, the woman discovered that the vehicle’s rear window was smashed in and her purse was gone, Jones said.
Additionally, there was a note left behind.
“Hijab wearing b—-,” it read. “This is our nation now get the f— out.”
The woman, Nicki Pancholy, told the San Francisco Chronicle that she does cover her head with a bandanna — but she is not Muslim. The newspaper reported that the Pancholy, 41, has lupus; KNTV-TV reported that she was trying to protect herself from the sun.
“When I saw it, I was in shock,” she told the NBC affiliate, speaking of the note. “That someone would feel so much hate to do this. I realize that this is the climate after this election. But I didn’t realize someone would be so ignorant and in so much pain to cause so much harm.”
The incident happened Monday at Mission Peak Regional Preserve in Fremont, Calif., Jones said. The woman arrived at the park a bit before noon and spent about an hour in the parking lot. She was blogging and videotaping herself; Jones said she believed the work was part of a “peace project, or something along those lines.”
Then the woman went for a hike, returning to the parking lot just before 4 p.m. That’s when she discovered that her car had been broken into and found the note. Authorities are investigating the incident at an auto break-in and as a hate crime, Jones said.
“Everyone is welcome, and this is a deplorable thing,” Jones said, “and it’s a priority of us to get to the bottom of this.”
Pancholy told the Chronicle that the incident left her fearful.
“I did not come the next day for my hike because I was scared to come,” Pancholy told the newspaper. “I didn’t know who was watching me. I would like for the violence to end with me.”
Although the note did not directly reference President-elect Donald Trump, the incident was among several that have been reported in the aftermath of his Election Day victory.
In Georgia, a teacher said that she found a note in her classroom, telling her that her “headscarf isn’t allowed anymore.” The note also instructed her to “tie” her headscarf around her neck and “hang yourself with it.”
At the University of Michigan, police said that a stranger approached a female student and threatened to set her on fire if she didn’t remove her hijab. The woman complied.
In an interview that aired on CBS’s “60 Minutes” earlier this month, Trump said that he was “so saddened to hear” that people were harassing others in his name. “And I say, ‘Stop it,’” Trump said. “If it — if it helps, I will say this, and I will say it right to the cameras: ‘Stop it.’”
The incident at Mission Peak Regional Preserve comes about a year after a group of Muslim men were reportedly attacked and harassed at another park in the area. KNTV reported that in that incident, which was caught on camera, a woman made anti-Islamic comments when she confronted the men, who were praying.
Jones described this week’s crime as “unusual,” and said that “hate speech is not tolerated, period.”
“We really want people to know that this is an isolated incident, a deplorable but isolated incident, as far as we can see,” she said. “And we want people to know that they’re welcome here. No one should feel intimidated coming to a park. No one should feel afraid. No one should feel unwelcome, and parks belong to everybody and everyone belongs there.”