A young Muslim mother claims she was ‘treated like a terrorist’ after a bus driver demanded she removed her face veil over safety fears.
The 20-year-old was ‘humiliated’ when the First Bus driver in Bristol launched into a tirade against her as soon as she boarded with her two-month-old baby.
The woman barely managed to ask the driver for a ticket before he began a rant against her for wearing a niqab, the veil that leaves the area around the eyes clear.
The 20-year-old Muslim mother was ‘humiliated’ when the First Bus driver (pictured) in Bristol launched into a tirade against her as soon as she boarded with her two-month-old baby
The driver asked her to remove the niqab, declaring that ‘the world is dangerous’ and it was ‘not good’ that he was unable to see the woman’s face.
The incident, which took place on July 1 on a number 24 bus from Easton into Bristol city centre, has been reported to police – and a video has been posted online.
The victim, who has asked not to be named, said she has been left feeling ‘horrible and disappointed’ after the driver ‘made me out to be a terrorist’.
She said: ‘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.
The woman barely managed to ask the driver (pictured) for a ticket before he began a rant against her for wearing a niqab, the veil that leaves the area around the eyes clear
‘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.
The full conversation between the bus driver and Muslim passenger
Driver: ‘Why are you taking a picture? Because I’ve expressed my opinion? You can take my picture. Do you want my phone number?’
Woman 1: ‘I’m recording you so we can report you later on.’
Driver: ‘I don’t get it.’
Woman 2 ‘(wearing a hijab): I don’t understand why you care [how she’s dressed]. It’s her choice what she wears.’
Driver: ‘I care because this world is dangerous. If you don’t see somebody’s face, that’s not good. In this time we live…’
Woman 2: ‘It’s her choice. You get to choose what you want to wear.’
Driver: ‘It’s not about choice here.
Woman 2: ‘It is a choice, actually. It’s not any of your business just how she’s dressed.’
Woman 1: ‘You’re a member of the public.’
Driver: ‘How I can see your face, you can see my face. We should see our faces. It’s exactly how…’
Woman 2: ‘She doesn’t want you to see her face, that’s her choice then.’
Driver: [walks away and talks to supervisor]
Woman 1 : ‘I’m recording an incident of racism to report later on. I have the right to do that.’
Woman 3: ‘He is basically saying she might blow up the bus. That’s what he just said.’
Driver talking to supervisor: [inaudible] ‘It’s nothing about racism here. This world, in this time, you don’t understand?’
Woman 4: ‘He’s just racist, man.’
Manager: ‘I will chat with you later.’
‘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 now apologised, saying the driver made a huge mistake and has been censured through the company’s disciplinary procedures.
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 witness 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. If you don’t see somebody’s face, that’s not good. In this time we live… we should see our faces.’
The victim added: ‘He said he couldn’t see my face, and that he didn’t know what I was ‘capable of doing’.
‘He 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.
‘I have been humiliated and he insulted my religion, and in front of my new-born baby.’
After the bus dropped the woman off at her stop – the Haymarket in Bristol city centre – the driver stepped off the bus to have a word with a First Bus supervisor.
He continued defending himself, saying: ‘It’s nothing about racism here… This world, in this time, you don’t understand?’
A spokesman for First Bus said: ‘We would like to fully and unreservedly apologise to the customer for the distress caused when one of our drivers expressed his personal opinions.
‘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.
A protest near Boris Johnson’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip Conservative office yesterday, after the former foreign secretary suggested that women wearing face-veils ‘look like letter boxes’
‘We have reminded staff of our expectations and behaviours that are demanded of them. The driver has been censured through the company’s disciplinary procedures for this incident, which is a matter the company takes very serious.
‘We’ve also helped the police with their enquiries and we are arranging a meeting with the customer to apologise in person and discuss matters in more detail.’
It comes as controversy continues to build over former foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s suggestion that women wearing face-veils ‘look like letter boxes’.
Mr Johnson is facing an investigation by an independent panel following complaints that his comments on the burka breached the Conservative Party’s code of conduct.