Derbyshire Police are investigating an Islamophobic hate crime after a taxi driver was abused by a female passenger who asked if he intended to behead her.
Speaking to Tell MAMA, the driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, described how the customer had pre-booked for the afternoon of the previous weekend, and smelt alcohol on her breath before the journey began.
During the short journey, he described how she made belligerent and inchoate remarks about the horrific and terroristic beheading of Samuel Paty, who taught history and geography at the Collège du Bois d’Aulne, in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, France, on October 16.
She then said to the taxi driver, “Are you going to do that to me?” to which the driver did not respond, and at that moment, she made more disparaging and harmful remarks about the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran, which caused the Muslim man distress, but as before, he did his best to ignore her.
After arriving at their destination, the racist female passenger left the taxi without paying the £6.80 fare.
The local taxi firm has now banned the woman, whom they describe as being white, and in her mid-to-late twenties.
After giving his consent, Tell MAMA reported the incident to the police on their behalf.
Tell MAMA has long documented the racialised targeting of taxi drivers, and the particular vulnerabilities those in the night-time economy face when concerning racist violence, abuse, and discrimination.
In a report co-authored with Professor Peter Hopkins of Newcastle University and Dr John Clayton at Northumbria University, about the experiences of anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia in North East England, one participant in the research, himself a taxi driver, described the racialised abuse faced which linked Muslims broadly to terrorism.
Another taxi driver interviewed for the research spoke of the overt racism they faced, including being called a ‘P*ki’.