‘We’re leaving the country after racists abused and spat at me’

A white Muslim mother who was spat at and abused by drunken football fans in front of her children today told of her humiliation at the hands of the “racist cowards”. Mother-of-five Michelle Idrees, 27, from Luton, said she had been too scared to travel to London or use public transport since the ordeal.

British-born convert Mrs Idrees was called a “f***ing Muslim slag” and told her son, then aged four, would be the “next suicide bomber” by a family of Arsenal supporters on a busy train. She is now planning to leave Britain because she feels her children have no future in this country.

Mrs Idrees said: “It was terrifying. All my children were crying hysterically, but these men wouldn’t stop. It makes me sick to think things have got so bad for Muslims that three men can say such disgusting things and threaten to punch a mother in the face, in front of her children, and nobody on the train does anything.”

One of the men had called her a “Paki-loving whore” and told her to go back to her own country. “They were big, aggressive men. I wouldn’t have answered back but I had to protect my children. Britain’s changed so much since 9/11 and 7/7 that people think we’re all terrorists.”

Mrs Idrees, who was wearing a headscarf, had been to London last August to attend an Islamic commemorative service for victims of the London bombings. She was travelling home on a Thameslink train with four of her children Stephen, 12, Chelsea, 10, Sharnia, six, and Shazan, five, as well as a friend’s two children and a neighbour, when the half-hour tirade began. Mrs Idrees, who converted to Islam after meeting her second husband, told the men that real Muslims did not support terrorism.

“They called the police and told them I had bomb in my handbag. Then they called a black woman on the train a nigger. They’re just racist cowards.”

Charles Adams, 23, from Colindale was jailed yesterday for 15 months after pleading guilty to spitting in Mrs Idrees’s face and religiously aggravated assault and affray. His brother, Mark Edward Adams, 26, and father Mark Raymond Adams, 50, pleaded guilty to lesser offences and received a 30-week suspended sentence and community service respectively.

Mrs Idrees and her children are moving to Pakistan, where her third husband Mohammed Arif’s family are from, next month. “My kids will all be able to choose if they want to be Muslims,” she said. “But I want them to live somewhere they feel accepted and where they don’t have to suffer abuse.”

Evening Standard, 24 November 2006

See also “Man jailed for 7/7 racial attack”, BBC News, 23 November 2006