Racists abuse and assault Muslim women, try to pull off hijab

Cousins who were born and brought up in Bristol were subjected to a verbal and physical racist attack as they shopped in Bedminster.

Both from Pakistani families, they were allegedly abused by a grandmother and at least one of her granddaughters in Poundstretcher on East Street. One was reduced to tears as she was said to be punched in the face, shoulder and neck as her attacker tried to pull her head dress off. Minutes earlier, the other cousin was called an “illegal immigrant” as she stood in a queue, minding her own business.

The crime took place between 9.30am and 10am last Thursday and Avon and Somerset police earlier released CCTV images of the prime suspect, a white woman aged in her late teens or early 20s, in a bid to track her down. The police have since asked the Bristol Post to remove the photo from this online article.

Both victims have spoken to the Post, but do not want to be named for fear of further attacks.

The woman who was allegedly punched said: “I heard what they had said to my cousin and when I stuck up for her one of them said ‘Shut up you Paki bitch, don’t speak to my nan like that’. I said ‘Why don’t you shut up? I’ll show you respect if you show me respect’. She came towards me and I said ‘Don’t hit me or I’ll call the police’.

“She tried to punch me in the face, but I dodged and it hit my shoulder. She went away then came back and tried to grab my head scarf. She grabbed my hair, punched me in the face and the neck then left. I started crying – I was so angry and upset by what had happened.” The 23-year-old who lives in Bedminster added: “My shoulder was so sore I had to take time off work and got it X-rayed, but fortunately it wasn’t broken.”

Her cousin, a 33-year-old who lives in Knowle, said: “I was in the queue waiting to be served – my cousin had already paid and was waiting to leave the shop – when these two girls and a lady who was about 60 years old walked past. She said ‘These illegal immigrants, always pushing in our queues’. I hadn’t pushed in and they weren’t even in the queue. I said to her: ‘Excuse me, I was born here, I’m a British citizen’. There were loads of people in the shop at the time who must have seen what happened.

“We were both very shaken up by it. Just because we dress a certain way, we shouldn’t have to put up with this sort of thing. Because we’re Muslims, a lot of people don’t realise we’re born here too, and we’re just following our culture.”

The older lady had “blondie” hair, white skin and was wearing a long, cream coat. The woman who punched one of the cousins had dark, tied-up hair, was wearing a dark hoodie and dark bottoms.

Police spokesman Martin Dunscombe said: “No one has been arrested so far, but enquiries are being conducted and we would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the assault or knows who is responsible. They should call 101 and quote 25626/14.” After asking the Post to remove the photo of the suspect from this online article, force spokeswoman Hollie-Marie Bone said: “We have identified who we wanted to speak to and our inquiries are continuing.”

Bristol Post, 20 March 2014

See also “CCTV images help identify suspect”, Bristol Post, 21 March 2014