During the horrific Westminster attack, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab was photographed walking past victims whilst on her phone. As well know, Islamophobia tends to heighten around terrorist attacks, and this was no different.
The picture went viral, circulating through social media as many railed against the girl for what appeared to be a callous and cold reaction to the killings going on around her. Some even suggest she was involved.
Now, the young woman has broken her silence and come forwards with an explanation. In a statement to Tell MAMA, an anti-muslim and anti-hate group, the unnamed woman said:
‘I’m shocked and totally dismayed at how a picture of me is being circulated on social media. To those individuals who have interpreted and commented on what my thoughts were in that horrific and distressful moment, I would like to say, not only have I been devastated by witnessing the aftermath of a shocking and numbing terror attack, I’ve also had to deal with the shock of finding my picture plastered all over social media by those who could not look beyond my attire, who draw conclusions based on hate and xenophobia.
. . .not only have I been devastated by witnessing the aftermath of a shocking and numbing terror attack, I’ve also had to deal with the shock of finding my picture plastered all over social media by those who could not look beyond my attire. . .
‘My thoughts at that moment were one of sadness, fear, and concern. What the image does not show is that I had talked to other witnesses to try and find out what was happening, to see if I could be of any help, even though enough people were at the scene tending to the victims.
‘I then decided to call my family to say that I was fine and was making my way home from work, assisting a lady along the way by helping her get to Waterloo station.
‘My thoughts go out to all the victims and their families. I would like to thank Jamie Lorriman, the photographer who took the picture, for speaking to the media in my defence’.
Jamie Lorriman, who took the photograph, had been the first to staunchly defend the woman, saying, “‘I saw dozens of people walk past and the woman on the phone had just come from the part of the bridge where most of the victims were struck.
…She wasn’t the only one walking past injured people…
‘That is why she clearly looks mortified and it is obvious that she is in shock. The woman would have seen people under buses – she had just walked past the worst of it.
‘She wasn’t the only one walking past injured people and it looked like she just wanted to get off the bridge as quickly as possible. I took three photographs where you can see the woman and I think she looks distressed in all of them.’