Muslim students beaten for defending woman wearing hijab

An 18-year-old Muslim student was attacked and beaten even after he lost consciousness by a gang of white youths on November 6. As they attacked him, they shouted “Where is your Allah now” and “Where is He to help you now.”

The first year business and computer undergraduate student had just left De Montfort University, Leicester, library with his friend at around 8.30 pm when they were attacked by around 10 white youths in Great Central Way, near the junction with Briton Street, Bede Island. The two students, Ahmed and Umar, (not their real name as they wish to remain anonymous) saw the gang taunting and abusing a Muslim woman wearing the hijab. She was with two other women who had gone ahead of her.

Ahmed told The Muslim News that he and Umar heard the gang tell the middle aged woman, “How do you like it if I walked in a balaclava. This is England. You should not be wearing a scarf.” They were concerned about what would happen to the Muslim woman and so they waited. One of the white youths turned towards them and asked them why were they were watching them. “I told them, ‘Leave her alone’.”

The woman tried to tell the white youths not to attack the students but they didn’t listen. The white youths assaulted Ahmed and Umar, and began beating them. Ahmed fell down and the gang continued to punch and kick him even after he was unconscious. They “jumped” on his head and kicked his body. He was picked up and thrown on to the ground.

Ahmed said the attack was “Islamophobic as they were talking about her scarf and also when they told me ‘Where is your Allah’ is to do with religion. How did they know we were Muslims? We could have been Sikhs for all they know.” Umar said the attack was both Islamophobic and racist as they had also shouted “Pakis”. He was “very angry” and said he never experienced racism in East London where he was from.

Muslim News, 27 November 2009

See also the comment piece by Kawsar Zaman, vice-chair of the MCB’s Youth Committee, “Can the BBC shirk its responsibility if anti-Muslim attacks increase?”