“No one helped” as Muslim woman’s hijab ripped off

The Metropolitan Police are investigating an alleged racially-motivated hate crime in North London.

The attack took place on September 28 in Haringey, North East London.

The victim, aged 21, was outside The College of Haringey with another woman when two men approached them from behind. One of the men pulled down her headscarf leaving her “shocked and distressed.”

Both men fled away straight after the attack at about 7.30pm.

One of the men is described as white with blond or ginger shaved hair and stubble, about 5ft 6in tall and wearing a burgundy hoodie.

The second man is described as being of Mediterranean appearance, aged between his late 20s and early 30s, clean shaven and with spiky hair. He is said to have been wearing a grey hoodie.

Detective Constable Ben Cousin, of Haringey Community Safety Unit, said: “This was a shocking attack in broad daylight in the middle of a busy street.

“Racially and religiously-motivated crimes will not be tolerated I would appeal to anyone who witnessed this attack to contact police.”

The victim has told the Evening Standard nobody offered her any help against her assailant. She says stood up to him herself: “I was shocked and then got angry I started shouting at him saying ‘how can you do that?’ I don’t think he thought I was going to stand up for myself, he thought I was just going to cry about it.”

She added: “I don’t feel safe on the streets, I’m more cautious than I have ever been – especially around men. My father doesn’t want me to leave the house on my own anymore but I can’t always have someone with me.

“I have to get to university and go to the library and get on with my life but it’ll always in the back of my mind.

“My hijab is my religious faith, it’s my identity, it’s who I am. For him to come and pull it off it saddens me. It’s 2016 and people are still hating on each other because of their faith and choices.”

The police investigation into the attack comes as National Hate Crime Awareness Week begins.

The  recording of the attack by police as racially motivated could be problematic, according to some campaigners.

Shahab Adris of Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) told 5 Pillars a lot of more work is needed to specifically address the problem of anti-Muslim hate crimes. He feels incorrect labelling of such attacks could prevent proper monitoring. “There have been cases where police forces have recorded an Islamophobic incident as a racially motivated incident, which then makes it difficult to map and monitor anti-Muslim cases. All relevant staff need to be efficiently trained in understanding and dealing with anti-Muslim hate-crimes and for consistency in identifying and recording anti-Muslim hate crimes and incidents.”

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