We’ve all seen footage of Islamophobic attacks on public transport making the rounds on our social channels at some point or other. But I didn’t think it would happen to me.
I was on a South West Train journey earlier this week going from Twickenham to Richmond, and while I was standing there minding my own business, a man asked me stupidly, “Are you going to blow yourself up on the train?”
I was utterly amazed, but perhaps not surprised. I replied, “I don’t talk to bigots”, to which he moved closer to me in a threatening manner.
Seeing that he wanted to start a fight, I decided to respond with my mind, not my fists, which would have been the easy option. “I bet your ignorance and small mindedness insults everyone on this train,” I said. You’re a fool who watches and listens to news that fuels and divides communities. You’re an example of what gives the extremists more excuses for their horrible actions.”
At this stage, I thought the situation would escalate into a train brawl, but luckily, several true Brits could not tolerate this bigot anymore, so they stepped in. They helped to push him away, while I took my seat proudly. I want to thank all those strangers – true brothers and sisters of mine – for their kind and thoughtful help towards me this week.
I finally understand the harassment that my Muslim peers are going through everyday on public transport. Islamophobia is real and living on these shores, so the best way to respond is to simply show the true Islam we have all been taught. That is to respect everyone and to show love, tolerance and compassion when faced with threats. It is what my religion teaches and entrusts me with, and what I must convey to my fellow brothers on this planet.
Every movement starts with a message. Let’s show ignorant people that we’re not going anywhere and we will fight this hate. Sign our pledge to make your voice heard.