Muslim woman wearing niqab is attacked on Tyne and Wear Metro

A young Muslim woman has spoken out after being attacked on the Metro for wearing her burka and face veil.

Yasmin Bint Shafiq, 22, was travelling on the Tyne and Wear Metro close to Manors Station when a man tried to pull her face veil from her head. Other passengers were visibly uncomfortable with the situation but noone stepped in to help her.

Yasmin, from Whitley Bay, said: “There was a person behind me who I didn’t notice. There was a man about late twenties who came and sat next to me, he goes ‘I want to see your face.’ I didn’t say anything so he put his arm around me, grabbed me and tried to pull, physically pull, my headscarf and my face veil off. His friends had to come and pull him off.”

At the time, Yasmin did not report the incident to the Police because she didn’t think they’d be able to do anything.

A Nexus spokesman said: “We work closely with the police and ARCH (anti-hate crime charity) to understand and confront issues of hate crime. Our trains and stations all have CCTV which has been used to successfully prosecute perpetrators even when the victim hasn’t come forward. We would encourage passengers to report incidents that they witness or are victims of.”

Yasmin added: “I really do think that this is more serious and happens more often than people let on.”

She was keen to emphasise that wearing a burka was a choice she made herself and was not forced on her in any way. Explaining her decision, she said: “In the outside world I want to be seen for my character and my personality and ultimately it is because I submit to God. God asks me to cover myself to a certain level, and this is the level I’ve chosen.”

Inspector Leigh McManus from Northumbria Police said: “We do know about hate crimes that happen in the community and we do investigate them and bring them to justice. Is it widespread? It would be naïve to say it’s not going on out there. But the message I really want to put across today is people must come forward and report them to the Police and we will take them seriously.”

Sky Tyne and Wear, 16 October 2013