Muslim woman “very shaken” after niqab ripped off in shopping mall
Categories: Latest News
Tuesday July 05 2016
The Northern Echo, Sunderland Echo, Hartlepool Mail and BBC News report on charges brought against a man suspected of a religiously aggravated assault after a Muslim woman had her face veil ripped from her face as she shopped at the Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland.
The newspapers reported the incident yesterday revealing that witnesses alerted police to the incident after the woman, who was “very shaken” by the alleged assault, left the scene. Witnesses reported what they saw to the police and to the centre’s security office.
Peter Scotter, 55, has been charged with racial/religious aggravated intentional harassment and racial/religious aggravated common assault and is due to appear at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court on July 19 following inquiries by Northumbria police acting on the witnesses’ report.
The incident happened at around 3.40pm on Sunday 3 July. The victim, who was out shopping with her husband and son, was waiting outside a shop while her husband went inside when a man allegedly approached her saying “You’re in Britain, live by British rules,” before grabbing at her face veil and pulling it off.
The woman, who asked not to be named, has lived in Sunderland for 30 years. She told the local paper: “I was just shocked and when I saw my veil on the floor, I felt really scared. I haven’t slept a wink since, I’ve just been wandering around the house traumatised.
“We are waiting for Eid, that’s why we were shopping, but now I feel like I can’t enjoy it and we’re not ready.
“It should be a happy time for us but I want to thank everybody who helped and for their messages. I don’t feel hate for him. As a Muslim, if anyone hates, you love them back, that is what we are taught, to be peaceful.
“Sunderland is my home city, where my life is, where my children were born and it will be where I die. I want it to be safe for everybody.”
Andrew Bradley, director of the Bridges Shopping Centre, said: “We were alerted to an incident in the Bridges which our security team dealt with swiftly and efficiently and the person in question was removed immediately.”
Sergeant Maria Ord, of Northumbria Police Southern Area Command, said police would put on extra patrols to reassure locals of a police presence and to deter further racist incidents. She said, “On this occasion the female victim was very shaken by the attack but I want to commend the witnesses in the area who came to her aid and contacted police.
“This is very much an isolated incident but extra patrols will be on patrol to reassure any concerned members of the public.”