A Muslim woman, who wears the niqab, confided to Tell MAMA that she is fearful of another Islamophobic attack, following Boris Johnson’s recent ‘letterbox’ comments, as weeks earlier, a man told her that someone should ‘shoot’ her because of her niqab.
The incident took place on May 15.
She was returning home from work but found herself stuck in traffic, given the proximity of her home, she decided to attach her niqab, which she would otherwise not wear when at work.
It was during this traffic stop that a man approached her vehicle, noting her open window, and said to her: “My gosh look at you, you’re white too. Someone should get a gun and shoot you,” as he made a gun gesture with one hand, the other hand contained a can of open alcohol.
He then gestured to a man, who the woman believed to be a friend, to stand with him. The man continued to insult the Muslim woman, as she remained frozen in fear.
The man again suggested that she should be ‘shot’ and told her to “go back to your own country”.
Alone, feeling trapped, and unsure what else to do, she waited until the men left.
Despite the assumption that she was white, he racialised her religious identity with xenophobic language regardless.
Tell MAMA continues to document, how Muslim women experience racialised abuse because of their Islamic veils, including examples of white converts being called ‘p*kis’. Often, as academics like Dr Chris Allen have argued, the hijab can become a become a universal symbol of ‘Muslimness’.
The abuse has now made her fearful of being outside alone without her husband, adding that racism was already problem in her part of the West Midlands.
She described the perpetrator as white, male, and in his forties.
Her anxieties and fears of a future attack, of being outside without husband, have only intensified since Johnson’s comments.
Police had investigated the incident but were unable to locate the man responsible due to CCTV issues.
Tell MAMA saw a large uptake in reports following Johnson’s comments, with over 20 reports compared to 5 in the previous week.