On a recent train to London, a Tell MAMA service user did not think about her faith, or her religious clothing on a routine train journey. But her visible Muslim identity mattered.
Abusive football fans targeted our service user due to her expression of faith. Intoxicated on alcohol and racism, the group chanted ‘do it with the nun, it’s better than having none’ as they pointed fingers at her. Others questioned her preference for bacon, labelled her a ‘sand monkey’, and asked if she ‘hid a bomb under her scarf’.
The alcohol did more than loosen tongues as it became a prop to wave in the face of our service user who was asked if she ‘fancied some’. One individual next to her continued to poke at her body (even when she asked the person to stop).
That shocking example is now subject to a British Transport Police investigation.
Incidents like the above are rare. But it takes a measure of bravery and confidence to pick up the phone and contact Tell MAMA and the police. Without these important conversations how can we change the debate on Islamophobia?
Just last month, a visible Muslim woman suffered racial abuse as she attempted to board a train in King’s Cross.
Ensuring the safety of all passengers (regardless of race or religion) is of paramount importance. Only in partnership can we empower individuals to speak out in confidence about their experiences.
Suffered an anti-Muslim incident? Speak in confidence to one of our dedicated caseworkers on 0800 456 1226. Help us change the debate on Islamophobia. Our service is here to help you. We can refer you to Victim Support or the police (but that is optional). Nor is language an issue: we have caseworkers fluent in Arabic, Urdu, English and Bengali.