Muslim woman wearing veil ‘refused bus ride’ in London

The women claim the driver said they were a “threat to him and his passengers”

Two Muslim women have claimed they were refused a bus ride because one had her face covered by a veil.

The students, both 22 and from Slough, Berkshire, boarded a Metroline bus from Russell Square to Paddington, London.

But they said when they presented their tickets on Tuesday, the driver told them they were a “threat” to passengers and ordered them off the bus.

The firm has started an “urgent” investigation. The Muslim Council of Britain said it was “deeply concerned”.

The pair, who have made a formal complaint to the bus company, have asked the BBC not to reveal their full names.

Yasmin was wearing a hijab and Atoofa was dressed in a niqab – which covers the face.

Continue reading the main story

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It’s OK for you to cover your face on my recording but it not ok for my friend to cover her face out of choice”

End Quote Yasmin

Yasmin said at first she boarded the bus by mistake when it was not in service to ask where it was going, but was told by the driver to get off.

“About 10 minutes later… the passengers started getting on. When I went forward to show my ticket he said, ‘Get off the bus’. I presumed he was still angry because I got on the bus before.

“He said, ‘I am not going to take you on the bus because you two are a threat.’

“I realised it wasn’t due to me getting on the bus, this may be a racist attack.”

She asked for his contact details but when he refused she began to film him and he covered his face.

“I said, ‘It’s OK for you to cover your face on my recording but it’s not OK for my friend to cover her face out of choice?’

“There was no point arguing with him, we got off the bus and by then my anger turned into emotion.”

However Atoofa, who had her face covered by the veil, said she hoped the driver would be educated about why women wear the traditional Islamic dress, rather than face the sack.

“I would like him to understand why we wear it and I think I would like an apology,” she added.

“I want him to sit there and talk to me about why he felt the way he felt and maybe to understand where we are coming from.”

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Such incidents are sadly becoming more common”

End Quote Muslim Council of Britain

A spokesperson from the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said it could not comment on individual cases, but added it was “deeply concerned”.

“Such incidents are sadly becoming more common,” the spokesperson said.

“They have been fuelled against the climate of increasing anti-Muslim rhetoric and hostility, in particular on the part of sensationalised stories by the media, demonising Muslims in the eyes of the wider public.”

It advised all victims to report incidents to the police.

Bus operator Metroline said it was taking the matter “very seriously” and would conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations.

“However, Metroline can unequivocally state that such views would not be representative of the company in any way and that we are committed to respecting equality and diversity for all,” a spokesman added.

Metroline operates the service on behalf of Transport for London (TfL), which added that it was also investigating.

‘Un-British values’

Earlier this month French MPs voted to ban the wearing of full face veils in public.

Several other countries including Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium have debated regulating the use of face covering garments.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said trying to pass a law banning women wearing the Islamic full veil in public would be “un-British” and at odds with the UK’s “tolerant and mutually respectful society”.

The comments came after Tory MP Philip Hollobone introduced a private members’ bill which would make it illegal for people to cover their faces in public.

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