Mum subjected to Islamophobic taunts in Hackney

A niqab wearing mum has claimed she was called a “Paki” and “terrorist” in front of her children during her routine school run.

Ruby Sandhu, a Muslim convert was driving in a quiet neighbourhood off Jenner Road in Hackney, East London, on February 7, when she was blocked off by a scaffolding truck. Realising she was late, Sandhu requested the driver move his vehicle, at which point the driver’s passenger got out of the truck and approached her car and demanded she got off her phone.

Sandhu relates to The Muslim News what happened: “I said to him, say ‘please.’” At the time she was on the phone to her friend, when the man demanded she, “Get off the f***ing phone.” Ruby shaken replied, “You racist” To which he replied, “You must be a right old ugly b****, or a smelly Paki. Is that why you wear a mask?”, referring to the niqab that Sandhu wears. Sandhu said she was shaking at that point.

After repeatedly accusing him of racism the accused told her to “stop blowing up, you’re good at blowing up, why don’t you go blow up somewhere else. You’re a terrorist.” Sandhu said what disturbed her most that it was, “done in front of my children. He didn’t care that my kids were in the car.”

In a statement to The Muslim News, Hackney Borough Police confirmed the reporting of incident, insisting they “takes all allegations of racial abuse very seriously.” A claim refuted by Sandhu who said, “You think the police don’t care. They said if the individuals from the Scaffolding truck say anything else to call 999.”

Elite Scaffolding Contract Manager, Lee Mayheu, told The Muslim News, “Should the claims turn out to be true, the employees will be fired immediately.” He added that the company was constructing an official report.

Sandhu blasted the attitudes of both the police and a local Muslim community centre. “They said this sort of behaviour was to be expected and nothing out of the ordinary if you are wearing a niqab,” she claimed the Muslim centre spokesperson told her.

Sandhu plans to take this issue up with the Hackney Borough Council. Police investigations into the incident are ongoing.

Muslim News, 23 February 2007