The Birmingham Mail and BBC News both report that a man who pulled the niqab off a Muslim woman’s head in a West Midlands shopping centre has been handed a suspended prison sentence, and ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid community service with a 21-day activity examining diversity and prejudice.
From the Birmingham Mail:
“A man who ripped off the veil of a Muslim woman in a Solihull shopping centre has been handed a suspended prison sentence.
“Ian Brazier, from Shirley, pleaded guilty to racially aggravated common assault at Solihull Magistrates’ Court last month.
“The attack happened on Saturday March 3 when Brazier pulled the niqab from the face of 26-year-old Farhana Chughtai as she shopped with her children.
“Brazier claimed that he took out his frustration on Mrs Chughtai while under the influence of cannabis and after he discovered that the two films he had wanted to watch at a local cinema were not showing.
“Magistrates’ handed him a six month jail sentence suspended for 18 months, an 18 month supervision order and a 21-day activity requirement which examines diversity and prejudice.
Brazier was also ordered to pay his victim £100 compensation and undertake 250 hours of unpaid work in the community.”
The Chief inspector for Solihull Police, Kevin Doyle said that the sentence “shows that there is no place for hate in Solihull.”
The victim, Mrs Chughtai said that she worries that “the same thing may happen to me again.”
She added that, “I am aware of other similar incidents in the West Midlands which have not been reported to police. This should not be the case. Victims should report these crimes as soon as they happen.
“I am pleased with the efforts to trace my attacker and the way they have handled this investigation.”
An investigation by the BBC Asian network in August 2009 found that only one in four Muslim women who were victims of anti-Muslim hate crime, whether verbal or physical assault, would bother to report the incident. A recent study carried out at Leicester University found that the ban on face-veils in France has increased hostility towards veiled Muslim women in the UK, stigmatising them as criminals and fostering a sense of ‘otherness,’ raising the risk of an attack.
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