Muslim family ‘treated like aliens, branded terrorists’ on trip to English seaside town
A Muslim family say they were accused of being terrorists and stared at as if they were “some kind of aliens” while on holiday at the Lincolnshire seaside town of Skegness.
The group of 12, seven of whom were wearing hijabs, visited the town for the first time last week and say they will not be returning.
One woman reported her experiences to Tell MAMA, an organization that records Islamophobic hate crimes in the UK.
“Once we reached the main area where there were shops, we noticed a lot of people just staring at us as if we were some form of aliens. It didn’t really bother us until we walked past the pub and a man shouted ‘terrorists,’” she said.
“As we went to the beach again, a lot of people continuously stared at us. We just smiled back, but it made us think how ignorant these people are.
“We then went to buy some seaside ‘rock’ and the lady at the shop said, ‘Don’t you get hot in them?’ referring to our hijabs. My sister replied ‘no’ and [said] they were not that thick and showed her the material of her hijab. She did not say anything after that and we left the shop.”
She added: “It really made us sad and made us miss the area we are from and also made us reflect on how different people are in England. It opened my eyes to the nasty comments Muslims get.”
Tell MAMA told local media it is concerned about the way the family was treated.
“The family will not be returning back to Skegness and such incidents will no doubt impact on wider perceptions within Muslim communities around areas.
“This is also worrying since communities need to feel comfortable around each other in our country, rather than feeling polarized. We are sure that the people of Skegness are not reflected through the actions of a few.”
The organization says the effect of Islamophobic abuse on Muslim women, especially those wearing head scarves, had become so bad many women can no longer conduct their day-to-day activities.
It says it recorded a 326 percent rise in incidents of anti-Muslim hate crime last year, from 146 incidents to 437.
Lincolnshire police said they had not received any reports of the incident.
A spokeswoman said: “We would encourage anybody who feels they have been a victim of a hate crime to report it to us.”