A Muslim Uber driver has been unable to work and felt “mentally broken” after being racially abused by a passenger in Brighton.

Speaking to Tell MAMA, the driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, described how he collected a group of passengers on July 30, at around 11:45 pm GMT.

One of the three passengers, described as being an Italian man in his mid-to-late forties, asked several personal questions of the driver, including his name and where he was born.

He answered the passenger’s questions. But the passenger became more belligerent in tone, adding: “Why are you working for f**king British people? I f**king hate British people” and “I am Italian and proud to be Italian. You should go back to your country. You are discriminating against your own country”.

The driver then requested that the passenger stop being disrespectful, but instead, the passenger continued to repeat his racist remarks. So, the driver pulled over and insisted that he could take the passengers no further and that they should order a different taxi, as he was unable to continue with their journey.

The racist passenger grew more belligerent as he exited the vehicle, he said out “f**king Muslim” and referred to the driver as a “c***”.

After the passengers left, the driver contacted Uber and Sussex Police to report the racial abuse.

The physical and psychological toll of hate crime is well-documented, harming the mental health and wellbeing of individuals. In broader terms, there is a blurring or overlap between racial and religious discrimination in the context of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim prejudice.  Racial discrimination, however, has been linked to increased psychological distress, hypertension, and poorer general health. The city of Milwaukee, in the United States, declared last month that racism is a public health crisis. Despite such negative health impacts, structural racism for black and Asian people struggle to access talking therapies or treatments for mental or emotional problems. Perceptions of discriminatory attitudes from healthcare practitioners, studies have found, has seen some withdraw from seeking help. The Race Disparity Audit found that patients from Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, and Chinese backgrounds were more likely to express dissatisfaction with the experience of getting a GP appointment, and with the quality of service.

Tell MAMA, has, for many years, documented the risk working in the night-time economy, such as taxi drivers, security personnel and those in the hospitality sector, may have for Muslims, vulnerable to Islamophobic hate crime.

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