Police appeal for witnesses after alleged anti-Muslim hate crime on a south London bus

A Muslim woman was allegedly punched in the head and kicked off a bus near Elephant and Castle station

Police in London are appealing for witnesses and information following a report of an anti-Muslim hate crime assault that allegedly occurred on a London bus.

Metropolitan Police officers were called to London Road in Southwark, near Elephant and Castle Tube station, on Wednesday 28 October following reports of a woman being subject to racist and Islamophobic abuse by two young women.

Officers spoke to the victim, a woman in her forties, who was injured as a result of allegedly being punched in the head and kicked off the number 63 bus at around 8PM.

Commuter Antonia Bance was on the bus at the time, and told The Independent what she witnessed.

"I was waiting for a bus by Elephant and Castle station, when all of a sudden the crowd around me gasped," she said.

"As I looked up there was a woman in a pink hijab lying on the road next to the back doors of the bus."

She said there was then a scuffle between passengers on the bus, as commuters tried to hang on to the two women who were allegedly responsible.

"It was awful, just awful."

Antonia Bance, witness

"People tried to take pictures of them as they walked off, but they were pushing the cameras away," Ms Bance said.

Speaking to the victim afterwards, she discovered that there had been an earlier argument on the bus, with the two women allegedly taking pictures of her on their phones while making Islamophobic comments.

"She said they kicked her in the stomach off the bus backwards. Due to the roadworks around Elephant and Castle, she landed on the road on her back," Ms Bance said.

"It was awful, just awful."

The incident allegedly took place on London Road, Southwark (Pic: Google Maps)

She said after the incident many passengers stayed around to help the victim.

"People were trying to hold on to these girls, they were taking videos and photos, and a few called the police."

"Straight away people picked the lady up off the floor, they were giving her hugs and helping her with her shopping."

"It's an awful, awful thing to happen, but everyone there was trying their best to help."

Police said the victim was badly shaken, and was taken to a central London hospital for treatment after the incident. She has since been discharged.

The suspects have been described as black females in their twenties, and police are appealing for witnesses.

No arrests have yet been made, but officers from the Road and Transport Policing Command continue to investigate.

Anyone with information is urged to call police on 101, quoting reference number 3031350/15, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.