Nahella Ashraf, 46, a Muslim woman who was spat on and assaulted by a stranger in a restaurant has said female Muslims must speak out against racially motivated hate crimes.
Ms Ashraf was attacked while dining in a west London restaurant with four friends. While in the restaurant she was grabbed by a man who was “smartly dressed and well put together”, who pulled her out of a seat, spat in her face, and shouted racist remarks.
She said, “We’d been in there for about 45 minutes and we’d all finished eating. There was a guy sat behind me. I assumed he was getting up to leave but he grabbed me and was screaming at me,” she told The Independent.
“He just grabbed me from the side, my arm. It felt like he was trying to pull me out of my seat. The first thing I remember him saying was something about him not tolerating people like me. Right in my face.
“It all happened really fast. I think the guys behind the counter came out straight away, and got between him and me.
“They asked him what his problem was. He said ‘It’s not me, how can you have her in here?’ and then he spat at me. He leaned forward past this guy and he spat in my face.
“As soon as he did that they started pushing him out. As they were pushing him out, he was just saying something like: ‘Her kind of people kill people’ and ‘They’re the problem’ kind of thing.
“It was racist. He kept saying ‘those kinds of people’. He could’ve grabbed the white woman on the side of me that would’ve been easier, but he went for the Muslim woman in the crowd.”
He fled the scene before police could arrest him.
Standing up Against Hate Crimes
She advised women to speak out if they are attacked and that talking about it was important.
She said, “Initially I thought I didn’t want to talk about it. But actually it makes me think if it can happen to me in the centre of London, it’s happening everywhere. People just don’t seem able to talk about it.
“I think it’s important that we do talk about it. I think it’s important for Muslim women themselves to have a voice in this narrative and actually set the record straight that we aren’t the threat.”