A 19-year-old Muslim student was subjected to a sickening racial attack in Piccadilly Gardens yesterday – as her headscarf was torn from her head.
Maryam*, a first-year photojournalism undergraduate at Staffordshire University, was confronted by a group of white girls after expressing her disgust at the way they were treating a beggar.
Yet she was subjected to a torrent of racial and physical abuse by the gang, which left her in tears. The gang shouted: “Go back to your country you f*cking terrorist p*ki, I will bomb your face off.” Then they slapped her face, before pulling her headscarf off and kicking her on the left side on the hips.
“What bothered me was what she said. The words hit me more than the physical attacks,” Maryam said. “You know when you hear these things being said and you get really upset that people are saying these things, but try having someone screaming it to your face. I felt weak. I feel horrible from shock I started crying. My friend, from the shock stood there didn’t know what she was doing.”
The group of girls had initially hit out at a Hijabi beggar, telling her to “go back to your own country” and “if I went to your country and begged for money I would get kidnapped and killed”.
Maryam said: “Maybe it wasn’t my business because I knew I was getting myself into trouble, but then I thought if I don’t stand up against these people, who will? Will they ever learn? I can’t keep seeing people get verbally abused. It was a disgusting scene and I hope, I really hope no one ever goes through this.
“I did go to the police station and filled a report and a statement and there’s 0.1% chance they will find these girls but I did the right thing. Yes I got verbally and physically abused but if it meant to stand up for what’s right, I will go through that pain again and again and again.”
The incident was reported to TELL MAMA, an agency that helps individuals anonymously report anti-Muslim hate and bigotry.
*Full name withheld to protect identity of victim