Muslim family accused of being 'terrorists' on trip to Skegness

The group of 12 say they were stared at as if they were aliens

Charlotte England
Friday 02 September 2016 09:00 BST
A Muslim woman walks on a beach
A Muslim woman walks on a beach (AFP/Getty)

A Muslim family have said they were accused of being terrorists on a recent trip to Skegness.

The group of 12, seven of whom wore hijabs, visited the seaside town in Lincolnshire for the first time last week, and said they won't be returning.

One woman, who reported the incident to Tell MAMA, an organisation that records Islamophobic hate crimes in the UK, said they were stared at and treated like aliens.

“Once we reached to the main area where there were shops, we noticed a lot of people just staring at us as if we were some form of aliens. It didn’t really bother us until we walked past the pub and a man shouted 'terrorists',” the woman said, adding that although they didn't respond she and her sister were shocked by the incident.

"As we went to the beach again, a lot of people continuously stared at us. We just smiled back, but it made us think how ignorant these people are," the woman said.

“We then went to buy some seaside ‘rock’ and the lady at the shop said 'don’t you get hot in them', referring to our hijabs. My sister replied 'no' and they were not that thick and showed her the material of her hijab. She did not say anything after that and we left the shop."

The only friendliness the family experienced in the town came from a local Muslim woman, who greeted the family and smiled.

Video shows Muslims kicked off flight

A Tell MAMA spokesman told local media, "We were concerned to hear about the experiences of this visible Muslim family.

"The family will not be returning back to Skegness and such incidents will no doubt impact on wider perceptions within Muslim communities around areas.

"This is also worrying since communities need to feel comfortable around each other in our country, rather than feeling polarised. We are sure that the people of Skegness are not reflected through the actions of a few."

Tell MAMA's annual survey found a 326 per cent rise in incidents of anti-Muslim hate crime last year, from 146 incidents to 437. The Muslim Council of Britain said it compiled a dossier of 100 hate crimes over one weekend alone following the Brexit vote.

61 per cent of victims in the cases Tell MAMA recorded involved women and of those 75 per cent were clearly identifiable as Muslim because of their clothing.

Tell MAMA said the effect of Islamophobic abuse on Muslim women – particularly those wearing head scarves or veils – had become so grave that many women could no longer conduct their "day to day activities".

Lincolnshire police said they had not received any reports of the incident in Skegness, but would encourage anybody who feels they have been a victim of hate crime to report it.

“This was our first family trip with our kids to Skegness and I don’t think I would like to go again seeing the behaviour of the people there," the woman who reported the incident said.

"It really made us sad and made us miss the area we are from and also made us reflect on how different people are in England. It opened my eyes to the nasty comments Muslims get.”

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