A driver for First Bus, traveling a route from the Easton area of Bristol, England to Bristol proper, verbally attacked a 20-year-old Muslim mother when she refused to take off her veil.
The young woman was wearing a niqab – a veil for the face that leaves the eye area clear. She was also traveling with her 2-month-old baby.
The driver told her to take it off and, upon her resistance, launched into a tirade claiming that she might be a terrorist. He said:
“I care because this world is dangerous. If you don’t see somebody’s face, that’s not good. In this time we live…”
A woman who was already situated on the bus recorded the incident on her phone. She stepped in to defend the woman along with another female rider.
They told the driver that wearing the niqab was the young mother’s choice. The woman behind the camera said she would report the incident to police as one of racism.
The other defender said:
“He is basically saying she might blow up the bus. That’s what he just said.”
When asked about the experience, the young mother described her humiliation:
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
First Bus has since apologized. They said the driver in question has been reprimanded and expressed interest in meeting with the woman to apologize in person.
Twitter is outraged at the blatant racial profiling:
Does he request nuns to remove their veils?— Torchbearer (@Torchbearer20) August 10, 2018
She isn't a terrorist... duh— vibes (@hatefulvibes) August 10, 2018
Oh no no no, this does not end well for you hunty https://t.co/z02c46Z7Ha— Jesse Bie (@jessebie) August 11, 2018
What depressing times we live in fuelled with hate and fear by politicians with political ambitions.— Adrian Sewell (@adriansewell53) August 11, 2018
Many people believe the driver should be dismissed instead of reprimanded.
As long as she paid her fare, he should keep to being a bus driver and not a racist. The guy needs firing.— Wendy ?? (@perfectrose2011) August 10, 2018
I hope he was fired!!!! ??????? https://t.co/DpnsnAhzPb— Barbara Clarke (@barb_lux) August 10, 2018
I hope he was fired— Kathy Hansen (@kathansen38) August 10, 2018
And others connected the hateful attitude to Boris Johnson’s recent burqa remark.
Horrible. People like Boris Johnson should understand the impact of their words....— Zach Dogar (@ZackDogar) August 11, 2018
This is why it was so wrong and irresponsible of #Boris to make his racist remark.— Woof GM (@Woof2729) August 11, 2018
Driver of a ‘Boris Bus’?— Dominic Gammon (@Iamnotagammon) August 11, 2018
Watch the encounter here: