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Teenage Muslim girl abused in Bristol city centre

Teenage Muslim girl abused in Bristol city centre

Categories: Latest News

Monday July 21 2014

Local newspaper, the Bristol Post, reports on a hate crime incident involving a headscarf clad Muslim teenage girl who was racially abused and spat at in a busy street in Bristol’s city centre as she walked home from school.

The girl, who asked not to be named, was approached by a man as she made her way home from school. The man started taunting her with verbal abuse and went on to spit in her face, all over her clothes and over her school bag.

According to the Bristol Post, the man had sworn and yelled insults against Islam and her supposed birth place, despite the teenager being born and bred in Bristol and considers herself to be British.

The teenage girl eventually fled and phoned her father. He immediately came to pick her up and made a formal complaint at a police station.

Hibaq Jama, a British-Somali councillor in Bristol, stated “One of the appalling aspects about this was that no one went to help the girl. I would like to think that most people who see a child being abused in public would do something, even if that is just call the police.”

Jama added the girl who was outgoing, happy and friendly is now “concerned about being alone in Bristol’s public places.” She notes she has become quiet and withdrawn since the incident and had suffered considerable emotional and psychological distress.

Jama notes that “She was picked on because she was wearing a headscarf. As if somehow wearing a headscarf ought to single someone out as a foreigner. This has led to many of her friends who also wear headscarves to be worried about being alone in public.”

Jama further raised her concerns that “Violent acts on girls makes counter retribution of one kind or another more likely. The community has worked hard to ensure it hasn’t happened in this case but I am concerned that if more young girls are abused due to religion or race that it could make counter retribution a likely consequence. Bristol as a city, along with all the necessary agencies, needs to acknowledge and address this problem now.”

Fellow councillor Margaret Hickman also expressed “It is a very deep and complex problem. I heard of a young Muslim boy being told by some others in the school playground that he couldn’t play with them because he was ‘different’.

“The boy is only six and it makes you wonder how this kind of thing will play out in the years to come.”

Both councillors express the hope that the incident is an isolated one though the documented experiences of a white Muslim female convert in Bristol, who revealed her history of assaults, insults and threats since she converted almost 20 years ago, would suggest that such is not likely to be the case.


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