More than a year after a stranger smashed a glass in her face for speaking Swahili at a Minnesota Applebee’s restaurant, Asma Jama forgave her attacker and urged her to “choose love over hate.”
“My religion teaches me to forgive so I can get on with my life,” Jama told Jodie Burchard-Risch at a sentencing hearing in Anoka County Court on Tuesday. “If I hold a grudge, if I hold the hate you hold towards me against you, it’s not going to serve me well.”
According to Minnesota Public Radio, Burchard-Risch and her husband were dining at the restaurant in Coon Rapids in October 2015 when they became irritated by Jama and her family speaking Swahili in the booth next to theirs. Jama reported to police that the couple then told them to “go home” and said, “When you’re in America, you should speak English.”
Jama, an ethnic Somali and U.S. citizen who has lived …