Muslim student attacked outside Strand

A member of ISOC had to stand in-between the female student and the attacker

A Muslim student was assaulted outside the Strand yesterday afternoon.

At approximately 1 pm on Friday two men approached the “Discover Islam Week” stall outside the Strand entrance, and began to assault the Muslim female students. They shouted abuse before one of the men tore off the student’s face veil. The situation quickly escalated when the two men started to threaten the Muslim students with violence.

According to an email from the Principal, the “Two men were later arrested under Section 4 of the Public Order Act – using racially aggravated threatening words and behaviour.”

Witnesses said that the King’s security team were present at the scene but didn’t physically intervene to stop the abusive behaviour. Geography MA student MA Mahamed Abdullah had to stand in-between the student and the attacker, he said “I had to put myself in harms way to protect the Muslim women who were being verbally and physically assaulted after King’s security just stood and there and were not responsive.”

When asked why no action was being taken, the security guard responded that the attackers “were not King’s students.”

Another witness, who wishes to remain anonymous, said ‘the police arrived around 30-40 minutes after the men left. The security guard stood between us but said nothing to the men.’

When they were asked to leave one of the men replied “This is my street, I live here so I can stand and come here if I want”.

Fatima Ali was one of the students at the stall. She responded to the Principal’s email claiming the they were “handing out islamic literature’. She said “to clarify we were NOT handing anything out. We held a stall-as we have done throughout the week and for many years as a society, this stall held literature that passers by were free to pick up. We did not hand anything out and to state this implies we approached our attackers and generally approach the public. We have done neither.”

However Principal Ed Byrne’s email gives a different version of events from the witnesses, he explains that ‘two security managers and a senior member of staff arrived, attempting to diffuse the situation, by positioning themselves between both parties. The two men were asked to leave the area but they refused so security contacted the police”.

ISOC President Issa Ruhani released a statement in which he said  “we are in active discussion with the Students’ Union and the College, as we feel that the response from security was woefully inadequate, leaving Muslim students feeling vulnerable and unsafe.” He is calling for an investigation to take place.

Co-founder of the anti- sexual harassment campaign ‘It Stops Here’ Hareem Ghani said: “There is no point of championing initiatives like the It Stops Here campaign and committing to stamping out harassment and sexism if you cannot extend the same courtesy to Muslim students – especially ‘visibly’ Muslim women who face the brunt of these attacks.”