Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Wednesday, 3 August 2005 16:05 UK

'Nobody intervened to help me'

Muslim women in traditional head dress are often targets of abuse
As new figures show religious hate crimes - mostly against Muslims - have risen six-fold in London since the bombings, one woman relates how the events of 7 July have led to her becoming a target of hostility.

Lina Rohim says she and her family had lived an uneventful life in east London before the bombings of 7 July.

"I've never had any problems round here, especially because the majority of people round here are Muslims - but there's a good mixture of black, Asian and white," the mother-of-two says.

She went unnoticed about her daily tasks in the anonymity generally enjoyed by Londoners but that all changed, she says, with the Tube and bus bombings of 7 July.

Lina wears the hijab, a traditional head covering worn by many Muslim women.

The hijab is part of my faith...I wouldn't consider not wearing it
Lina Rohim

But she says since 7 July her adherence to her faith has led to her being the target for abuse.

"Wearing the hijab increases my problems. Because we are dressed like this people can spot us, if I didn't wear the hijab nobody would be able to tell whether I was a Muslim."

Since 7 July she has had to endure people staring, pointing and making comments about Muslims and bombers, she says.

'Muttering'

She attempts to ignore comments and "dirty looks" wherever possible, Lina adds, but a recent incident which led to her 3-year-old daughter being injured has left her shaken.

The trouble began as she travelled on a bus with her daughter and six-year-old son.

"A middle-aged woman with a trolley got on and problems started the moment she saw me. As soon as she got on she was staring at me and muttering about Muslims.

"When she went to get off she deliberately trapped my daughter's hand between her trolley and a handrail my daughter was holding," Lina recalls.

More abuse about Muslims followed when she remonstrated with the woman, Lina says, but in spite of her daughter's screams and the woman's abuse, nobody else on the bus came to her aid.

"There were loads of people on the bus but nobody intervened to help me, they just kept staring at me," she says.

But Lina says in spite of the fact her hijab marks her out from the crowd she intends to continue wearing it.

"The hijab is part of my faith, the way a Muslim women should be dressed when she's outside, I wouldn't consider not wearing it," she says.



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