Muslim woman ‘could hardly breathe’ after being dragged on ground by hijab in London attack
The 27-year-old woman had been visiting a friend at a hair salon when two white youths approached her from behind and tried to rip off her hijab before pushing her onto the ground and dragging her a few meters along the pavement. Witnesses say she was left highly distraught and lay on the ground for around twenty minutes before being helped into a nearby Turkish restaurant, where the young woman called emergency services.
“The poor girl was shaking like a leaf, we had to sit her down and give her water before she could speak,” a waiter at the Fes restaurant told the Evening Standard.
“She told us two white guys shoved her then dragged her along the floor by her headscarf and left her on the pavement. She was having a panic attack when we saw her, and could barely breathe.
“It’s sickening that people can do this,” the waiter said.
Another witness, Hussan Bukhari, who was eating at Fes at the time, described the assault victim’s distress.
“She was absolutely terrified and in tears,” Bukhari told the Evening Standard.
“She had back surgery last month and was really worried it was damaged again, as she couldn’t walk by herself.
“She said ‘They took nothing from me, not my phone, not my bag. They just thought they could get away with it. I thought this area was safe.’
“As a Muslim myself, that could have been my mother or sister who was carried in, so I felt really protective of her,” the patron said.
However, emergency services were slow to arrive on the scene.
“The ambulance didn’t come, the police didn’t turn up, and then, after 45 minutes, first aid came. They checked her blood pressure, and then after 15 minutes … the ambulance came. And then 20 minutes after the ambulance, the police came. They took more than one hour,” Fes owner Koksal Zeyek said to the Guardian.
Police are appealing for information about the attack, which took place on Wednesday in Chingford, east London, at around 8:35pm local time.
Statistics show that hate crimes have been on the rise in the UK since the Brexit referendum in June, with figures from the National Police Chief’s Council showing a 58 percent surge in incidents in the week following the vote. The attacks have frequently targeted foreigners and minorities. One particularly shocking case took place in August, when a factory worker named Arek Jozwik was beaten to death by a group of teenagers after they heard him speaking Polish. Muslim women that stand out because of their appearance are particularly vulnerable.