The below photo began circulating on social media soon after the terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge. In the photo, a Muslim woman wearing a hijab is shown walking past a group of people who have gathered around a victim in the London attack. With the Muslim woman holding a phone in her hand, some social media users accused her of not caring about the victim.
— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) March 24, 2017
Reactions like the following flowed into social media regarding the photo.
According to The Guardian, the Muslim woman who was photographed wearing her hijab on Westminster Bridge and walking by the group of people has responded in shock to the hate she has received as a result of people jumping to conclusions about the photo and her intentions. After anti-Islam websites spread her photo around, the Muslim woman said it shocked her that some folks were willing to “draw conclusions based on hate and xenophobia.”
— Adam Ismail (@aadanweli) March 24, 2017
The fact that some people labeled the photo with words like “the main difference between Muslims and Christians” proved that people did not know the entire story about the incident, reports the publication. According to Tell Mama, a group that tracks anti-Muslim events, other photos of the same woman show her in various states of distress.
“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.”
Whereas some people online interpreted the Muslim woman in the hijab as cold and unfeeling as she walked by a victim on Westminster Bridge, the Muslim woman said she was actually calling her family during one point in the wake of the attack and assisted a woman in traveling to Waterloo station.
The photographer of the viral photo, Jamie Lorriman, believes that the Muslim woman was indeed in distress after the incident. The fact that people would presume the woman in the hijab didn’t care about the victim just because of her attire is upsetting to the Muslim woman, who agreed to let The Guardian use the photo to clarify what actually happened. Jamie said the woman, like most people, was likely told to leave Westminster Bridge at some point due to the melee that followed the attack, with the bridge most likely being cleared of people who could move on their own.
Despite a plethora of tweets criticizing the Muslim woman, there are plenty other tweets coming to her defense against those who are making presumptions about the intentions of the woman in the hijab walking on Westminster Bridge, which assumed she didn’t care about the victim.
— Pro UK Anti Theism⚛️ (@AyrshireBog) March 23, 2017
Other photos showing people walking by victims on Westminster Bridge, people who aren’t wearing hijabs, prove that the woman was the victim of anti-Islam hate, say folks on social media. Some have reposted photos of a close-up of the Muslim woman’s face, showing her appearing upset in the wake of the attack.
[Featured Image by Amel Emric/AP Images]