CAIRO – A veiled British Muslim woman has been racially abused and had her hijab ripped after trying to stop a group of school girls who were stealing at a store in Sutton, South London.
“They came in here shouting and stealing things and I told them to stop,” Masoomeh Jafari, who has worked at the Poundland store for six years, told the Daily Mail.
“A group started swearing at me, saying things about my religion and the clothes I wear. Then they grabbed my headscarf twice. I was very frightened.”
Jafari, 26, from Sutton, South London, was left terrified last Sunday afternoon after up to 30 youngsters attacked her, grabbing her headscarf twice.
Confronting them as they were stealing goods from the store on Sunday afternoon at about 3pm, five of the girls aged between 11 and 14 allegedly called her a ‘f***ing Muslim’.
The attack was witnessed by Patricia Rose, 69, of Sutton, who was passing by.
“They were saying “f*** this” and “f*** that” and they were trying to get back into the shop after they had tried to steal things,” she said.
“I then went into Poundland and saw the lady. She is a delightful person and her head was down. She told me that the children had pulled at her hijab and had sworn at her.”
Police officers came to the shop, yet there was no CCTV footage to help identify those involved.
“This has happened before. Sometimes they come in after school, sometimes on the weekends – we catch some of the children stealing from the shop and they are rude to us. I was really upset after it happened,” Jafari added.
“I told my parents about it and they said that I should think about finding work somewhere else. But I have been here for so many years and this was not a problem until recently.”
Poundland said it will look into the matter, while Sutton Police said it had no record of the abuse.
“We would encourage anyone who has been a victim of hate crime to report it and we will investigate it robustly. Hate crime is an under-reported crime and should be reported when it occurs,” a force spokesman added.