A niqab-wearing Muslim woman in the UK was treated like a “terrorist” after a bus driver demanded that she should remove her face cover over safety fears as he felt that she could “bomb the bus”, according to media reports.
The woman, who was travelling on the First bus 24 from Easton to Bristol city centre, said she was shocked when the driver began berating her for wearing the niqab – a face veil that leaves the area around the eyes clear – soon after she boarded the bus with her two-month-old baby, BBC reported.
The 20-year-old woman said the driver told her “this world is dangerous” and demanded to see her face, it added.
“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?,” she was quoted as saying by the Bristol Live.
“He (the driver) 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 added.
“I’ve been humiliated in public, and I’m disappointed. It’s 2018, we shouldn’t be like that. I’m being stereotyped.”
However, the First Bus has now apologised, saying the driver made a huge mistake and has been censured through the company’s disciplinary procedures. “We would like to fully and unreservedly apologise to the customer for the distress caused when one of our drivers expressed his personal opinions,” said a spokesman for the First Bus.
“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.”
Other passengers on the bus – one of whom was wearing a hijab, a headscarf worn by Muslim women – jumped to the defence of the humiliated young mother.
The woman wearing a hijab confronted the driver, saying: “I don’t understand why you care how she’s dressed. It’s her choice what she wears.” The driver responded: ‘I care because this world is dangerous… we should see our faces.”