A disabled Muslim woman described how a racist elderly couple shouted at her for not wearing a face mask, and, having detailed her medical exemption via her sunflower lanyard, was told to “go back to where you came from” so the “virus will leave with you” in a Lidl car park in Kent.
They also called her a “f****** idiot” and told her to educate herself.
Speaking to Tell MAMA in confidence, the woman, who wears the hijab, described how she felt ‘more targeted’ as the couple wilfully ignored a white male who had also been wearing a sunflower lanyard.
The anti-Muslim and Islamophobic incident occurred on the afternoon of December 30.
To further protect their identity, we are not disclosing the exact store location but can confirm that Kent Police are investigating.
As governmental advice makes clear: If you have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering or mask, you do not routinely need to show any written evidence, nor provide evidence of an exemption card.
For those wanting to use an exemption card or badge, however, a template can be downloaded for free from the Gov.uk website.
Last October, Nick Ephgrave, the Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police, told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee that a ‘common trigger’ in rising levels of racist hate crimes last year concerned arguments over the use or non-use of face masks.
“Someone will challenge someone about the use or not of a face mask, and then in the course of that interaction will then use racist language,” he said.
Tell MAMA has documented the targeting of Muslims during the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, including a shocking and vile assault where a racist male coughed in the face of a Muslim woman and told her he had the coronavirus. Other examples include a Muslim man being told by a fellow customer that they would “deport him” after he had requested that maintain social distancing in a department store.
More broadly, the process of racialisation, which some academics argue, relates to the essentialist characteristics attached to a group based on physical or cultural traits (including language, clothing, and religious practices), as the process of racialisation not only crystalises by reference to their faith but also their articles of clothing, for example.
For white Muslims and converts in Britain, as in this example, other research from academics explores how they become ‘not-quite-white’, or ‘non-white’, due to ‘persistent conflation’ of Islam as a ‘non-white’ religion.
Other as research explored its relation to the political, economic, and political marginalisation of groups.
Gendered and harmful stereotypes of Muslim women who wear the hijab (or other forms of religious clothing) as being ‘meek and submissive’ continues to be explored in Tell MAMA’s research reports.
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