Turning the tables

“My sister has worn a face veil for six years. She lives in Birmingham, where it is common to see women shrouded in black, however the sight is more unusual in Southampton, where my parents live and where, at the weekend, my sister was called ‘a ninja woman’.

“This insult is neither the most hurtful – ‘fucking terrorist freak’ – nor the most spurious – ‘Osama-lover’ – to have been levelled at her over the years. But it wasn’t the name-calling that really rankled her and me.

“We challenged the man who made the remark, he denied saying it, even though he said it as I was passing him. My sister called him ‘a lying bigot’, which is all she could muster on a Sunday afternoon in Primark, en route to Clark’s to have her children fitted for new shoes, but she delivered it rather splendidly, to the bemusement of shoppers who, if they hadn’t noticed her before, suddenly found her rather interesting. Her children asked why mummy was shouting at a man.”

Riazat Butt in the Guardian, 27 August 2008