Man defends Muslim woman targeted by racists on London Underground

On Monday, a man posted a status on Facebook explaining why he defended a Muslim woman from being attacked in the London Underground.

Ashley Powys, 22, from London, was on a Tube leaving from Oxford Circus on his journey home to Stockwell.

He had sat opposite a young Muslim girl wearing a hijab.

Then, Ashley noticed the girl look up before suddenly looking away as he heard a voice from behind him say loudly “F***ing p***”.

He took to Facebook to speak of the ordeal.

The post has now been shared over 18,000 times and has received more than 41,000 likes.

In his post, Ashley said: “He then got closer to her and was reeling off abuse, calling her things like “rag-head”, “terrorist”, “scum”, and saying that “her people” murdered the victims of the Paris attacks this weekend.”

Without thinking, Ashley stood and pushed him away from her. He said: “He was aggressively close and was clearly terrifying her.”

The man turned his attention to Ashley, calling him a “terrorist sympathiser” among other things.

Ashley sat next to the girl and asked her what her name was. With tears in her eyes, she told him her name was Yara.

As the man continued to shout abuse at Yara, Ashley decided to try and distract her.

“I distracted her asking about her day, and other small-talk topics, all the while making sure I was a barrier between her and this guy, so he didn’t have direct access to harm her,” he says.

When the Tube got to Ashley’s stop, instead of getting of, he asked her if she’d like him to stay on until her stop.

Yara began to cry because of what she called his “tremendous kindness and bravery.”

Ashley said: “I don’t think that’s true. I just saw someone in need, and it was my human nature to do what I could.”

When they finally reached Yara’s stop, Ashley escorted her off the train and took her to where her friends were meeting her. He asked if she receives that sort of abuse often. To his surprise, she replied that she does.

“I told her in confidence that there are many people like me and she should never have to feel afraid in her own country. And this is her country, and her city,” he said.

Ashley finished his post with an important reminder for all of us:

“Please take care of each other. Both friends and strangers. You never know when you might need someone to do the same in return.”

The full post can be read here.

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