Muslim woman in hijab assaulted by man who tried to pull off headscarf in central London

Two strikingly similar Islamophobic hate crimes targetting women have happened within two days of each other

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The Independent Online

A Muslim woman has been assaulted in central London by an “aggressive” man who tried to pull off her hijab

The hate crime occurred in the early morning as the woman walked alone down Oxford Street.

The man approached her and repeatedly demanded she remove her headscarf. When the woman, in her 40s, refused, the man became more aggressive.

The assailant grabbed the woman's headscarf and attempted to remove it by force. 

He managed to unpin the covering, but did not succeed in removing it entirely, police said in a statement. 

The woman escaped without injury, and the man, who is estimated to be in his 30s, fled in the direction of Marble Arch. 

The suspect, who was wearing a grey sweatshirt and light blue jeans, is described as a white man with "short black greased back hair".

He is thought to be approximately five feet five inches tall and of medium build. 

Police said although she was not physically hurt, the victim was shocked and distressed by the attack.

They added that Scotland Yard are treating the incident, which occurred at 8.15am on 4 October, as an Islamophobic hate crime.

Detective Sergeant Steve Stamp of Westminster’s Community Safety Unit said: “This was an unprovoked and hate filled attack in broad daylight in the middle of a busy street. The woman was targeted by this suspect purely based on what she was wearing". 

The attack happened the day before a strikingly similar incident occurred in the London borough of Haringey, where a young Muslim woman was also targetted in a racially-motivated assault.

In the Haringey attack on 5 October, the woman in her 20s was walking on a busy street with a female friend near The College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London. 

She was approached from behind by two men who pulled down her hijab.

The assailants, both thought to be in their late 20s or early 30s, then fled the scene.

In reference to the Oxford Street assault, Mr Stamp said: "Racially and religiously motivated crimes will not be tolerated I would appeal to anyone who witnessed this attack to contact police. ”