If there’s one thing people love to see on social media, it’s human beings sticking their necks out for each other – perhaps especially when the people involved are perfect strangers.
The phrase “if you see something, say something” has become a little passé, but the truth is that sometimes it’s exactly the thing to do.
And one heroic woman took that to heart when she witnessed a man harassing a Jewish family minding their own business on a London subway.
Oh, last thing – she’s Muslim, and the harasser is Christian.
Around noon I witnessed appalling anti Semitic abuse towards this Jewish Family on the northern line. Fair play to other passengers who stood up to him. If you recognise the guy please report to @metpoliceuk pic.twitter.com/YxzwAnDqTJ
— Chris Atkins (@scatatkins) November 22, 2019
She wasn’t alone in speaking out, though. One witness – Chris Atkins – posted a video to Twitter.
The man reportedly rushed up to a man and his young son, both wearing yarmulkes, and began to read from a Bible, loudly screaming and cursing at the pair of them.
The woman, Asma Shuweikh, didn’t hesitate to speak up, fearing that he would become violent (as he threatened to) if no one stepped in between him and the family.
“I thought, if I reason with him and talk to him and pretend that I’m sympathetic with what he’s saying, maybe I can diffuse the problem because he was actually talking to a little boy.”
Her name is Asma and in a statement given to IlmFeed she said, "…as a Muslim woman and mother I know what it's like to be attacked and dehumanised for my faith and I couldn't just watch and see this happen to another family with young children." https://t.co/3bUrVdVHFz pic.twitter.com/x78p30xLmN
— IlmFeed (@IlmFeed) November 23, 2019
Others followed her lead, and they were able to distract the man for long enough for the Jewish family to quietly escape the train.
“If it had been me,” Shuweikh said, “I would have liked someone to stand up for me.”
It’s all anyone wants in a time of fear and need, I think. Just something to keep in mind the next time you find yourself faced with the choice to speak up or look the other way.
The British Transport Police arrested a suspect on charges of committing a racially aggravated public order and is still in jail.