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Middle East events impact on anti-Muslim hate crime in the UK

Middle East events impact on anti-Muslim hate crime in the UK

Categories: Latest News

Friday July 25 2014

The Bristol Post covers the alarming story of a young Muslim woman born and raised in the city who was abused and spat at on her way to work this week by a man using events in the Middle East as a pretext to violate her dignity. While there has been significant coverage in the newspapers in the last couple days of anti-Semitic attacks that have followed events unfolding in the Middle East, this is the first case documenting its impact on Muslim communities.

Hasina Khan, like other Muslim women who have shared their experiences of anti-Muslim hate crime in the city, spoke to the Bristol Post about what happened. She said:

“I’ve experienced hostility and racism many times, from being called Paki in the street to having alcohol thrown at me.

“I remember during the 1990 Iraq invasion being pushed by a boy at school followed by ‘haha we are bombing you’, to more recent years when the world turned to topple Libya and I experienced yet again a rise in racism. In fact, every time there is aggression towards Muslims outside of the UK, I experience aggression from within the UK.

“I had just past Pret A Manger and a man came charging towards me with such aggression I thought he was going to punch me in the face.

“He was ranting and he spat in my face. I felt it fall onto my left hand.

“I was in shock at what was happening. I asked him what his problem was, but he continued to rant and said something along the lines of ‘your people are killing’ and something about ‘Middle East’ and ‘killing Christians’. He spat at me again. It was terrifying. I thought he was going to attack me at any second.

“Then my defence mechanism just kicked in and I started to shout at him. What a coward – he then started to back away. He tried to say something else, but I continued to shout at him until he left Cabot Circus. I’ve read so many reports that hate crime towards Muslim women is increasing in the UK, but nothing really prepares you for what to do if it happens and how humiliating, terrifying and dirty it makes you feel.”

Hasina washed her hijab at her workplace but told the paper that the police advised that they could have used the saliva for DNA testing to help track down the perpetrator. She said she wanted to share this detail with fellow Muslim women should they ever be abused in the same way.

One notable detail in the article is the response of one of Hasina’s colleagues to the incident. Carolyn Parker told the Bristol Post, “When she told me that no one had tried to help, or even asked afterwards whether she was ok, I was truly sickened by the public’s lack of action towards her.”

In a hate crime incident involving another Muslim woman in Bristol city centre, the lack of regard by passersby who witnessed the incident was also pointed out. It is worth reminding readers that reporting hate crime is something that can be done by witnesses as well as victims.

Avon and Somerset police spokesman Martin Dunscombe said: “Officers are investigating these allegations and taking them very seriously. We know there were other people in Cabot Circus at the time and we would appeal for anyone who witnessed what happened, or has any information that might help the investigation, to contact us on 101, quoting 74214/14.”


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