A Muslim mother and her young daughter were racially abused and taunted with Islamophobic abuse on a London bus by two drunk Polish men.
The incident occurred on the afternoon of June 19.
The woman, who wears the niqab, was waiting to board the bus in south London with her daughter when the men behind them repeatedly shouted the N-word during a conversation in their first language, which the woman understood to be Polish, given her familiarity with it through her friends.
Speaking to Tell MAMA in confidence, she felt targeted because they are black Muslims, adding that Poland was due to play Senegal in a World Cup fixture hours later, which may have influenced their decision to target them.
To her dismay, no other passenger sought to challenge the initial racial abuse.
But the abuse continued as the men followed them upstairs and sat behind the family, and started to repeat the slur ‘suicide bomber’ at them.
Whenever she turned to challenge the abuse the men would ignore her.
Upon leaving the bus, one of the men shouted, ‘Allah is paedo’, which caused her great upset but she was determined to challenge them.
She asked the men ‘what they wanted’ and to explain why they were targeting them with racist and Islamophobic abuse.
One of the men would only respond in Polish and blew kisses at her young daughter. His only English-language word in this exchange was the slur ‘paedo’ which caused her young daughter to cry and to beg her mother to ignore them and get off the bus.
A fellow passenger did intervene which comforted the woman and her daughter.
Tell MAMA reported the incident to the Metropolitan Police on her behalf following the incident.
In 2016, 85 (13 per cent) incidents reported to Tell MAMA occurred on transport networks.
Tell MAMA has long documented the often-disproportionate abuse and violence directed at Muslim women who wear the niqab, which is an affront to their fundamental right to freely practice their religious beliefs and wear religious clothing, regardless of how conservative some interpret it.
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