A Muslim family said they were accused of being terrorists and stared at as if they were “some kind of aliens” while on holiday at the Lincolnshire seaside town of Skegness.
“Once we reached the main area where there were shops, we noticed a lot of people just staring at us as if we were some kind of aliens. It didn’t really bother us until we walked past the pub and a man shouted terrorists,” said one of the women who reported her experiences to Tell MAMA, an organisation that records Islamophobic hate crimes in the UK.
“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. She said a woman at a shop had asked them whether they never got hot in their hijabs. The woman said her sister had replied in the negative and showed her the material of her hijab. The family then left the shop, where they had gone to buy some seaside ‘rock’.
She added, “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.”
From the group of twelve, seven of the women were wearing hijabs. They visited the town for the first time last week and say they will not be returning. Tell MAMA told local media it is concerned about the way the family had been treated.
“The family will not be returning back to Skegness and such incidents will no doubt impact on wider perceptions within Muslim communities around areas,” the organisation said. “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,” it added.
The organisation says the effect of Islamophobic abuse on Muslim women, especially those wearing a hijab, had become so bad that many women could no longer conduct day-to-day activities. According to the organisation, a 326 per cent rise in incidents of anti-Muslim hate crime has been recorded since last year, from 146 incidents to 437.
Lincolnshire police said they had not received any reports of the incident. A spokesperson said, “We would encourage anybody who feels they have been a victim of a hate crime to report it to us.”