Stratford TfL worker allegedly tells Muslim woman she can take balloons on train as long as she doesn't 'bomb them up'
PUBLISHED: 17:38 29 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:48 29 March 2019
A train station worker allegedly told a Muslim woman she could take balloons on a train as long as she wasn’t carrying bombs.
The woman, who wears the niqab and has not been named, expressed her shock at the Stratford station worker’s Islamophobic statement but the TfL employee allegedly added with a smirk: “You can carry them as long as you don’t bomb them up.”
The woman and her two companions were upset by the remarks saying they had ruined their birthday celebrations, according to the campaign group TellMAMA which measures anti-Muslim attacks.
Its director, Iman Atta OBE, said: “Public transport is one of the areas where hate crimes take place.
“The vast majority of professionals working with TfL and other such agencies go out of their way to help individuals, which is why it is so surprising to hear of such professionals coming out with bigoted comments.
“Such incidents where professionals make anti-Muslim, bigoted comments have lasting impacts since people in authority are seen to confirm such bigotry. We simply cannot have this if we are to maintain trust.”
The alleged abuse happened just hours after a terrorist attack that killed 50 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15.
The worker is described as being female and black, but the victims were unsure of her age.
Tell MAMA plans to raise the case with TfL to call out discriminatory and Islamophobic attitudes. One of the women has already sent a complaint.
Other examples of abuse directed at women who wear the niqab have included being denied entry onto buses and told to remove their face coverings because of “security concerns” at school open days with their children, according to the organisation.
Others have been subjected to abhorrent racist abuse and called suicide bombers, TellMAMA staff said.
Siwan Hayward, TfL’s director of policing, said: “This is a shocking report. We expect all our staff to treat every customer fairly and with respect, and all reports like this are treated extremely seriously.
“We are investigating, and disciplinary action may result.
“We encourage anybody who experiences verbal or physical assault to report it to the police immediately or to our staff who are trained to contact the police and offer assistance.”
Report incidents by texting 61016 or calling 101. In an emergency call 999.