A man sat next to a Muslim woman on a busy Underground train and shouted racist abuse into her ear before she could safely leave the train and contact the police.

Recalling what happened on the morning of October 28, the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, described how the racist male began by uttering racist statements under his breath. She described hearing them say, “You’re scum, coming here and taking our jobs”.

The racist abuse heightened as when passing through a louder area of the track, he leaned towards her ear and shouted, “Scum foreigners, go back to your own country, go back to where you come from. You stink. Curry munchers”.

She described feeling targeted due to her ethnicity and hijab, adding that a woman opposite her made eye contact with her, signalling to leave, which she did.

After leaving the seat for safety, she noticed a white woman take her seat with her child, adding that the racist male became friendly with them.

Having boarded the train at Stratford station, she exited it after several stops and, upon alerting a member of Transport for London (TfL) staff, described how she felt “brushed off” by them and told to contact the police online.

With their informed consent, Tell MAMA’s Casework Team contacted the British Transport Police (BTP) on their behalf to make a report.

Academics have explored the impacts of how Muslims experience Othering (due to ethnicity, gender, class and sexuality) in different urban settings (including public transport). For example, the racialised harassment towards some Muslim women interviewed was partly due to their religious clothing (visual Othering). Other academics situate such experiences through the competing lenses of structural and interpersonal forms of gendered Islamophobia and anti-Muslim abuse. In a UK context, academics looked at the “geographical spaces of Islamophobia is presented, while highlighting the ways in which anti-Muslim discrimination is gendered, racialized, classed and aged.”

Tell MAMA, in partnership with the BTP, provides the public with tailored safety advice for the rail networks, including the London Underground, which is free to download from our website.

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