We have spoken to a mother who has been subjected to anti-Muslim language in front of her children.
The East London resident. (who wears the Hijab), was abused after the terrorist murders in Paris and had parked her car and was looking for something in the vehicle. As she did so, a white male stopped next to her window which was open and peered into the car saying,
“Are you going to brainwash your kids to bomb people?”
This is the first time that she has experienced such an incident. Born and raised in London, this mother had previously not suffered anti-Muslim prejudice and felt that after Paris, the environment has changed.
Sadly, she also stated to us that after this incident, she was limiting her visits outside of the home and that she was isolating herself and her children in the home since the incident had shaken her confidence and had instilled a sense of fear that her family could also be targeted in the future. She has also asked her 6 year old daughter not to wear a Hijab in the future.
This case highlights a growing trend that we see in Muslim women over the last 12 months. Some have decided to change their visible Muslim identity and have taken off their HIjab and wear hats, whilst some limit their lifestyles by spending more time at home.
We should also add that some people regard prejudicial comments as being incidents that have no lasting impacts on victims and that Muslims should just shrug off these incidents and ‘move on.’ These comments are made with a complete lack of understanding and empathy with the victim and usually by people who have an antagonistic approach to Muslims. Clearly, such incidents disprove this rhetoric and there are clear and real impacts on people’s lives and perceptions.
Lastly, we wanted to add that we believe that the vast majority of the British public abhor such behaviour and particularly where women are intimidated and abused. We firmly believe this to be the case and it is a British attitude which we should value and which many admire across the globe. By highlighting these cases, we do not want to give the impression that such intolerance and bigotry is widespread across the UK. Yet, we cannot deny or gloss over the fact that such anti-Muslim incidents are taking place and sadly, with a greater frequency.
What we do know is that there millions of fellow non-Muslim citizens who stand with Muslims against anti-Muslim prejudice. If there is one example that shows us this, it is the hundreds of thousands of people who have signed a petition to stop Trump entering our country. We should celebrate this fact.