The Journal reports on a Muslim woman from Saudi Arabia who was allegedly assaulted on a bus in a racially motivated attack in Dublin, Ireland.
Mashael Khayyat, 31, a PhD student at Trinity College Dublin, said she now felt unsafe leaving her home after being hit by a man travelling on the number 70 bus last week while on her way to collect her daughter from school.
Khayyat was approached by a man on the bus who said “Allahu Akbar” and when she questioned what he meant, he told her the expression referred to murder.
Ms Khayyat said: “I understood then that he was trying to insult Muslims. I smiled to him and said, ‘No, I don’t kill people.’ He hit me very strongly on my left shoulder and said, ‘I hate Muslims’.” Ms Khayyat’s shoulder was badly bruised but she suffered no other injuries.
A spokesman for the Garda Síochána (Ireland’s national police service) said Ms Khayyat immediately reported the incident to the driver, who notified the bus company and the man was removed from the bus but not arrested.
Khayyat, a former lecturer at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University, wears the hijab and is in the final year of her postgraduate studies in Ireland and having lived in the country with her family for 3 years. She said the attack had left her too afraid to travel into classes in the city centre fearing she might be attacked again.
She added: “Should I remove my scarf or put on a hat instead to feel safe? I don’t know what to do. I hardly slept for three nights after it happened”.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Dublin Bus company confirmed that a passenger was removed from the bus: “The safety of our customers and our employees is our primary priority and we take incidents of this nature very seriously.”
The spokesman said that the company’s CCTV footage from the bus will also be made available to Gardaí if required.
It is not clear that a criminal investigation is underway into the incident.