A Muslim woman, travelling on a bus from Kennington in south London with their young child, was threatened with being shot and called a ‘terrorist’ by men after they targeted another Muslim woman who also wears the hijab.
The women both wore hijabs and faced the indignity of being called terrorists and told to “go back home”.
Speaking to Tell MAMA and wishing to maintain anonymity, they described boarding the 133 bus before noticing the abuse but worried about intervening because of their young child.
The perpetrators, who sat opposite them, turned their attention to them, echoing the abuse directed at the other Muslim woman on November 26, 2022.
Despite telling them to “go away,” the abuse continued, as other passengers did nothing to intervene, nor did the driver stop despite her requests after one of the men threatened to ‘shoot’ them.
She added that she had hoped to capture images or videos of the perpetrators but felt unable and fearful to do so as the threatening behaviour escalated as they edged closer to her and their child.
A police investigation followed, but it was closed following a failure to identify those responsible or other witnesses coming forward.
The case closing had a double impact: a feeling of being let down by the authorities and an added caution about taking that route or other public transport.
Tell MAMA continues to educate members of the public about the importance of meaningful solidarity and safely intervening when racist, anti-Muslim, and Islamophobic hate crimes or harassment occur. For example, offering to contact the police on their behalf (if they agree to it), speaking to those impacted and providing them with reassurance or distracting attention away from the perpetrator(s), and if safe to do so, challenging the perpetrator(s) and using a phone to photograph or film the incident to share with authorities.
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