The young Muslim woman in the hijab hardly noticed the man she passed in the street – until he stopped, spat and swore at her. But then as a white-skinned blonde in Islamic garb, religious convert Amy Sall is used to attracting attention. What has shocked her since she became a Muslim has been the level of hostility she has attracted from complete strangers.
The 29-year-old mum of three, who converted when she wed her Muslim husband Amadou in April 2010, says: “That incident happened soon after we got married. I was walking down the street wearing my hijab. I’m very conscious that I stand out and I’m sensitive to how people regard me. A white man walked past, stopped, spat at me then shouted, ‘F***ing Muslims!’
“I was really shocked but I have come to expect this kind of abuse. Since 9/11 so many people in this country think all Muslims are fundamentalists and terrorists. I have been really surprised how much abuse I have had to face, primarily from strangers. They just see the hijab and they start shouting abuse. It’s reached the stage now when I only wear my hijab to the mosque, because of the abuse I get in the street.”