'She might blow up the bus': Bus driver asks Muslim woman with a two-month-old baby to remove her veil
The young Muslim mother reported the incident to the police calling it a hate crime and demanded an apology
A young Muslim woman said that she was 'treated like a terrorist' after a bus driver demanded that she remove her veil as he had safety concerns. The 20-year-old was 'humiliated' when the bus driver in Bristol, UK criticized her for covering her face and wearing a veil as soon as she boarded with her two-month-old baby. The driver asked her to remove the niqab, saying 'the world is dangerous' and it was 'not good' that he could not see her face.
The incident took place on July 1 and has since been reported to the police. The victim, whose name and identify have not been revealed, said that she has been left feeling 'horrible and disappointed' after the driver 'made her out to be a terrorist'.
"He said I was scary and I was dangerous, and he kept talking about it during the journey. He was insinuating I was going to bomb the bus," she told Daily Mail. How is that possible when I've got a baby with me? I get that he might not be from the country, so maybe he has never seen a person with a face veil."
She added that it is a shame that people hold such stereotypes in today's world.
"But for him to treat me like that in a public place is wrong. I had my baby with me. I've been humiliated in public, and I'm disappointed. It's 2018, we shouldn't be like that. I'm being stereotyped," she said.
The bus authorities where the incident took place have apologized for the incident. Meanwhile, another woman who was wearing a hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women, jumped to the defense of the humiliated young mother.
The witness told the driver, "I don't understand why you care how she's dressed. It's her choice what she wears." To this, the driver responded by saying, "I care because this world is dangerous. If you don't see somebody's face, that's not good. In this time we live... We should see our faces." The victim added: "He said he couldn't see my face, and that he didn't know what I was 'capable of doing'."
The bus driver did not stop there and he kept pointing fingers at her. "He continued to insult me, and he made me out to be a terrorist, and kept saying everyone should see each other's faces. He asked why I was wearing a balaclava," she said. I have been humiliated and he insulted my religion, and in front of my new-born baby." After the bus driver dropped the woman off at her stop, he was questioned by his supervisor but he continued to defend himself.
"It's nothing about racism here... This world, in this time, you don't understand?" he said. A spokesperson for the authorities said in a statement, "We would like to fully and unreservedly apologize to the customer for the distress caused when one of our drivers expressed his personal opinions. The driver behaved in an offensive fashion that in no way reflects our deeply held values as an inclusive company which welcomes all people, irrespective of background, race, nationality or religion as customers or employees."
The statement further read, "We have reminded staff of our expectations and behaviors that are demanded of them. The driver has been censured through the company's disciplinary procedures for this incident, which is a matter the company takes very seriously. We've also helped the police with their inquiries and we are arranging a meeting with the customer to apologize in person and discuss matters in more detail."
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: "We are investigating a report of a hate crime that occurred on a number 24 bus in Bristol on July 1 at about 12.40pm. Inquiries are ongoing. Anyone who witnessed the incident should call 101 and quote reference 5218145369."