London: Muslim Women Hit by Car Urge Police to Probe Hate Crime

9:50 - February 27, 2024
News ID: 3487351
IQNA – Two Muslim women who were run over by a car in east London are demanding justice and calling for the incident to be investigated as a hate crime.


The Muslim women, who were wearing hijabs, allege that the driver deliberately hit them as they were crossing the road near their home in Waltham Forest on 1 February.

The driver, who remained at the scene, told the police that it was an accident. The police have classified the incident as a road traffic collision and have not made any arrests.

However, the women and their supporters are not satisfied with the police response, according to a report by The Guardians on Monday. They say that the driver slowed down to let them cross and then suddenly accelerated, hitting them with full force.

One of the women, Misbah Sadique, 37, was dragged under the vehicle and suffered multiple fractures and injuries. She is still in hospital, traumatised and in pain. The other woman, Kulsum, was thrown to the ground and sustained minor injuries.

"The immense emotional distress and trauma [of the incident] was made worse as we felt the people who were supposed to protect us and make us feel safe were disregarding their duty of care to us," said Nazia Tayyib, a cousin of Misbah's, speaking on her behalf.

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The women have received support from the Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU), a charity that helps victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes.

The IRU has urged the police to reopen the investigation and to treat the incident as a potential hate crime. The IRU has also highlighted the rise of Islamophobia in the UK, especially against Muslim women, who are often targeted for their visible expression of faith.

The IRU's chief executive, Majid Iqbal, said that they had recorded a 365% increase in cases of Islamophobia since October, when the war between the Israeli regime and resistance groups in Gaza triggered a wave of hostility and violence against Muslims. He said that many of the incidents involved verbal and physical abuse on public transport, in the street, and at protests.

"Because of the negativity around Islam and faith, there's this perception amongst the public, which is a narrative that's been kind of reinforced by politicians and also media as well, that Muslim women are kind of oppressed and forced to cover up," he said. "It seems it's actually OK to become acceptable now, to say very negative things about Muslims, even if you're a public figure ... When it comes to Islamophobia, there is a tolerance to it, that there is no such thing as zero tolerance. That doesn't apply to us."

The Met Police said that they had opened a hate crime investigation in response to the concerns raised by the victims and the IRU, but that their inquiry, including the viewing of CCTV footage, led them to believe that the women were not deliberately targeted.

They said that they had asked specialists to review the case as well, but that they had come to the same conclusion.

"This was an unfortunate road traffic collision," said Ch Supt Simon Crick, who is in charge of policing Waltham Forest.

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The case has raised questions about the definition and recognition of hate crimes, and the trust and confidence of minority communities in the police. It has also exposed the vulnerability and fear that many Muslims face in the UK, amid a climate of hostility.

Mohammed Kozbar, general secretary of the Finsbury Park mosque, which was subject to a terrorist attack on 2017, which killed one man and left 12 injured, said he had reported a number of incidents to the police since October.

He said: “We’ve seen people standing outside the mosque shouting in an Islamophobic and racist way, attacking the community. We’ve seen offensive emails as well attacking the community, talking about the faith itself, the prophet, the Qur’an. So it’s about dehumanising the Muslim community.

“We hope that the police get to the bottom of it but from our experience, to be honest, most of the cases, I’m talking about probably 99% of the cases, nothing has been done about it and that’s an issue which the police needs to deal with.”


Source: Agencies