LONDON – A Muslim teenager left a heartbreaking letter on a London bus, describing the range of emotions she experienced after the March 22 Westminster attack, and detailing the shock and trauma of anticipating being blamed for the incident.
“I am a Londoner aged 14 years old – I also happen to be a black Muslim,” the letter reads, The Express Tribune reported on Tuesday, April 4.
“After the tragedies at the Westminster attack I came to the decision that I wanted to do something.
“After hearing of the attack I was very agitated and scared for the people of London and the victims.”
The anonymous letter came to public after being shared through social media site Reddit.
It elaborates how Muslims in London felt after it was discovered that the attacker was a Muslim convert.
“The next day I woke up early and I was watching the news it dawned on me that I would go into school and people would expect answers,” the teenager wrote.
“I went into form and as we spoke about the current affairs I felt all eyes on me. I felt flushed and not suddenly – almost guilty? What do I have to be guilty for? I couldn’t determine if I was being paranoid or eyes were darting to the corner of the room to where I was sitting,” she added.
She went on to express the trauma she experience after every attack, finding herself and her religion blamed for the actions of a few.
“We may be Muslim but we don’t want to hurt you,” the girl writes.
“We aren’t terrorists. Every Saturday I pass through Westminster and I had to think twice about it this time. I was scared that maybe I would be assaulted because of the many labels that come with wearing a hijab.”
“It’s scary being a Muslim as these horrible acts of terror are happening and I hope that I can still live here 50 years down the line, and that my future children will get so see the beauty of London and the amazing people who live here.”
The young girl, who wants to become a lawyer one day, said that she hoped for peace.
“What I feel is too much for me to express on paper and I hope I have communicated my message well to whoever is reading this. My last hope like the hopes of many others is peace.”
The post has been met with support for the girl with one Reddit user commenting “genuinely heartbreaking”.
“Genuinely heartbreaking to have read that a 14-year-old Muslim girl feels this way. Hopefully, with our actions, both Muslim and non-Muslim, together we can show she doesn’t have to feel this way :)” wrote user YahyaYahyaYahya
“I am hoping you left it behind for someone else to read. I am very self-conscious and try not to draw attention to myself. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for a 14-yr-old wearing a hijab and travelling through London on buses and trains. She is very strong to stick with her faith and choices she makes,” said Mofarahesque
“This is heartbreaking, and it really highlights a view that isn’t represented in everyday media. I’ve been moved by this and I hope it’ll have an effect on the public to stop treating Muslims (or anyone else regardless of race, religion, gender, etc) differently,” wrote Chealserock.
“There’s no reason to blame somebody else, or even treat them differently, for an action that they don’t have any control over, at all, regardless of circumstance.”
Others expressed support on Twitter.
Heartbreaking letter ‘left on London bus by Muslim girl’ after Westminster attack https://t.co/F9cwUrwykr
— Harsha Trivedi (@harshtri25) April 3, 2017