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Muslim woman wearing veil ‘refused bus ride’ in London

July 24, 2010

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.

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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”


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”

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.

  1. July 27, 2010 5:54 pm

    Ah subhan Allah!
    I’ve only just got a computer back and just had to read this.

    This problem is very worrying regardless of how some may want to play it down.
    In actual fact, I should have reported the incident that happened to me last week too.
    My friend and her sister were on our way out to do some shopping when a bus driver did the same thing to me.
    There are polite ways of asking a niqabi to show her face but now it seems it’s ok to be impolite, aggressive and rude about it and that is not on.
    Talking about that, that same evening, I was attacked by some older lady with a broom after she decided that she did not like me wearing my veil to cross a road near my home!
    Is every Muslim woman who wears niqab supposed to put up with such abuse? I wonder, how would it be percieved if a Muslim woman reacted with violence back? How would that be reported in the media?

    The level of prejudice and scare mongering is on the rise and it is going to take a victim dying before authorities take it seriously. That is the sad truth.

    • July 27, 2010 7:59 pm

      Same here ukhti ! That day I was only wearing hijab but a racist guy pulled my hijab. I felt so depressed and withdrawn after that. I was asking everyone what should I do if this happens again with me and one useful suggestion was to report to the police and they will record this incident.

      I replied to that guy but it didn’t work. So, I guess reporting will work inshAllah.

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