MBTA: Scare Over Praying Muslims a ‘Misunderstanding’

The incident raises concerns over the efficacy of 'see something, say something.'

Orange Line

Photo via iStock.com

Armed transit officers responded to a report of suspicious activity at a T station in Medford on Thursday, but the incident is being called a “misunderstanding” by MBTA officials.

According to the Boston Herald, authorities were called in by Orange Line riders who were concerned over two people, believed to be Muslims, who were allegedly praying at Wellington Station. The officers concluded that the duo posed no threat to public safety and let them go.

“Some people riding our system noticed two people that appeared to be Middle Eastern, and in their opinion, they were acting suspicious,” MBTA general manager Frank DePaola told the Herald. “We responded because we got the call. It turns out that they were two citizens lawfully—as I understand it, they may have been praying, because it’s Ramadan.”

While no one was arrested or hurt, Thursday’s occurrence does raise some concerns over the possibilities of the “see something, say something” policy infringing on religious freedoms.

DePaola called the incident a “general misunderstanding” and said that there’s a “heightened sensitivity on everybody’s part” following the shooting at a gay Orlando nightclub on Sunday, which killed 49 people. The massacre, considered the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, has renewed concerns over terrorism as the shooter invoked the names of ISIS and the Tsarnaev brothers during to the rampage.

In addition to Thursday’s incident, the MBTA had another brush with Islamophobia this week as a rider recently tweeted out a photo of anti-Muslim graffiti found on a Red Line train.