The Independent London Newspaper


Teacher: ‘I love wearing my veil but abuse I’ve had forced me to take it off’

Nouha Bin Ali addresses the meeting as MP Jeremy Corbyn looks on

Nouha Bin Ali addresses the meeting as MP Jeremy Corbyn looks on

Chief Supt Catherine Roper

Chief Supt Catherine Roper 

Published: 2 December, 2016

A TEACHER has reveal­ed how “unimaginable” levels of abuse since the Brexit vote have forced her to remove religious clothing.

Nouha Bin Ali, who teaches at Finsbury Park Mosque, used to wear a niqab – a face veil – until two months ago but now leaves her face uncovered after receiving constant abuse while out with her children.

Ms Bin Ali spoke at Islington Together Against Hate Crime at the St Thomas’s Road mosque, a year after it was targeted by a failed arson attack.

“The abuse I am having, you cannot imagine,” Ms Bin Ali told 200 people packed into the mosque on Tuesday evening.

She had chosen to show her face to protect herself and her children when in public.

“When I am with kids I’m hearing bad words. People are jumping in front of me,” she said. “We are not forced to wear it. We are so happy the way we are. I love wearing it [the veil] but by force I am having to take it off.”

Ms Bin Ali was one of many speakers from all walks of life at the meeting, chaired by Highbury West councillor Andy Hull. 

It was called to show a united front against hate crime and encourage people to report it.

Islington borough commander Catherine Roper told the meeting that reported levels of hate crime had dropped off since the large spike after the European referendum vote in June, but they were still above average.

Chief Superintendent Roper said big improvements had been made in the way the Met dealt with hate crime in recent years, but admitted: “There’s still more for us to do.”

Finsbury Park Mosque has been a focal point in the fight against hate crime in the borough. The building was targeted in another race hate attack in June when a man threw a bag of pork meat over the fence. That man, and the attempted arsonist, are still at large.

Rabbi Mendy Korer, of Chabad Islington, said conflicting opinions on subjects such as the Middle East must not “distract from our ability to tackle hate crime”. 

The Rev Jennifer Potter, of Islington Faiths Forum, said: “We need to be ready to support people at the point hate crime is committed, whether in a park or on a bus, and to help people by accompanying them to the police – if that’s the right thing to do.” 

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn said the rise of xenophobia reminded him of the National Front organising in Islington in the late 1970s and 1980s.

He had been shocked by the extent of racist and homophobic abuse online and called on social media platforms to do more to tackle it.

The Labour leader said that the atmosphere created by tabloid coverage and politicians in the wake of Brexit was legitimising hate crime.

“We have to make it clear that everyone who has made their home here can remain here,” he said.



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