The Metropolitan Police are investigating after footage of a woman clad in an Islamic niqab abusing Gay Pride marchers as “despicable people” went viral on social media.
The footage, reportedly taken in Waltham Forest, north-east London, shows a woman clad from head to toe in a black niqab — a religious garment which leaves only a narrow slit for the eyes and is often erroneously described as a burqa, which substitutes the niqab’s slit for a fabric mesh, by much of the press — shouting “Shame on you! Shame on you!” at a middle-aged man wearing a rainbow flag as a cape.
“God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve! God created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!” she repeats.
“Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on all of you!” she shouts. “Shame on you, you despicable people! Shame on you, you shameless people!”
“That’s what the racists and fascists say about you,” an unseen man calls back plaintively, seemingly discomfited at finding himself on the opposite side of the political divide from a Muslim fundamentalist — but to no effect, with the woman’s cries of “Shame on you!” only growing more emphatic.
Apparently this is from Waltham Forest Pride today. Slightly surreal to hear the Muslim woman quote a line from Alan Partridge when berating this poor man. pic.twitter.com/EYp2O6vivQ
— Paul Embery (@PaulEmbery) July 27, 2019
“We are aware of footage circulating on social media of abuse directed at those taking part in the Waltham Forest #Pride event #wearewalthamforestpride and enquiries are underway,” a tweet from Waltham Forest Police confirmed.
“Abusing someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is a hate crime,” the Metropolitan Police team added.
“If you have been verbally or physically abused, harassed or attacked in any way by someone because you are or they think you are LGBT+ please report these crimes to police or through a third party agency.”
It may be difficult for police officers to reliably identify their suspect, however, considering her face and body are almost entirely concealed by her religious garb — a key driver behind the growth of bans on face veils in public places across Europe and even some Muslim-majority countries in public places.
However, despite widespread public support for a ban in Britain, and existing restrictions on other face-concealing items of clothing such as balaclavas and crash helmets, there is little appetite such a move among Britain’s top politicians — with most claiming somewhat ironically to oppose a ban as an infringement on women’s liberty to dress as they please.
— Martin Belam (@MartinBelam) July 28, 2019
New prime minister Boris Johnson was accused of racism and “Islamophobia” and even investigated by the police over a recent newspaper column in which he disparaged Islamic face veils, but has also said he does not support a ban.