A devout Muslim was kicked off a train bound for Flen, south of Stockholm, in May, after failing to show his ticket to the conductor as he was deep in prayer.
On his daily commute to Flen from his work in the capital, the 35-year-old man needed to carry out some of his daily prayers. In order not to disturb fellow passengers, he made his way to a calm and secluded compartment – something he had done several times before. ” I started to pray but then the conductor arrived and shoved me three times in the back causing me almost to topple over. Then she said ‘Show me the ticket! Hey!’,” the man told news site Nyheter24.
The man refused to show his monthly rail pass to the female conductor as he felt he couldn’t interrupt his prayers once he had started. However, as soon as he was finished he thought it appropriate to go look for her and show his ticket. “I went looking for her and showed her my pass. Instead of looking at it she said I should have shown it to her when she came by earlier,” he said. The man was told he would have to get off the train at the next stop. “She was ice cold. I feel demeaned and discriminated against,” he told Nyheter24.
The man, who is required to pray five times a day, tried to explain himself and said that he had never had any problems praying on the train before. “We have the right to kick you off the train and if you don’t comply we will telephone the police,” the conductor allegedly answered him.
The man, who didn’t have anywhere to sleep that night if he didn’t get home, refused to leave the train, according to the news site. The staff on board then decided to call the police and officers were waiting for the train at the following station. The police told him, after a short interview, that he was under suspicion for threatening behaviour.
As the conductor would not let him back on the train, the man managed to get back to Stockholm. To avoid having to roam the streets of the capital, he made his way to a mosque in Akalla, where he spent the night.
The man later contacted the train services customer service department where they agreed that it was not acceptable and sent him a voucher worth 1,000 kronor ($152). But to the 35-year-old it is not about money but getting satisfaction.
According to Nyheter24, the incident has been reported to the Swedish Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen, DO).