A Muslim schoolgirl says she has been left traumatised after she was punched and ‘strangled’ with her own hijab on her way home from school.
Redana Al-Hadi, 14, was travelling with her 13-year-old sister, Wadaad on a single decker bus, when she was punched repeatedly by a woman who shouted racial slurs at her.
Redana from Upperthorpe in Sheffield was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured eye socket after the attack.
The horrific ordeal has not only left her physically bruised but also ”too scared to get the bus to school”.
The teenagers were travelling home with a group of friends from Silverdale School on public transport when the woman and a man, began to “mock” their accent and abuse them about their headwear.
The argument then spilled out of the bus and onto the road, where the woman knocked Redana to the ground and beat her.
Mobile phone footage of the horrifying incident shared online, shows the woman on top of Redana as she repeatedly slams down punches.
Brave Redana has now spoken out about the ordeal, which took place shortly after 4.30pm on Wednesday, 4th December.
“As we were getting off the bus he stood up and screamed the ’N’ word towards my friend. A little boy at the back of the bus stood up and said don’t call her that – we’re black,” said Redana.
Redana says a short argument broke out between the man and the woman – who are thought to have known each other – before the man grabbed one of the children.
She said the woman then turned on her and began shouting racial slurs and telling them their hijabs made her ‘feel sick’.
Redana added: “She then threw herself at me and dragged me out the bus, and as she dragged me to the floor she strangled me with my hijab. My little sister tried to stop it and the man grabbed my sister by her waist and threw her into oncoming traffic.
“She kicked me in my neck and knocked me out with her fist and started smashing my head and stamping on me while my arm was over my face. I thought my arm had been broken.
“My face is all swollen and it’s a mess.”
She added: “I feel targeted because I’m a Muslim girl. I’ve not gone back to school because I’m too scared to go back on the bus or to leave my house.
“I’m scared of adults harassing me and I already had bad eyesight, I wear glasses, and the eye she damaged is my good eye.”
The girls’ mother Racheda Ali, 51, said: “When I got the phone call from Wadaad (my youngest) saying ‘mum she’s killing my sister, she’s attacking Redana and attacking us’, I just didn’t know what to do.
“When we got there all the children were crying because they were all scared and shaking.
“My daughter was having a panic attack, it’s just outrageous what they did to her.”
A 40-year-old woman and a 44-year-old man were arrested by South Yorkshire Police, who said the incident “remains under investigation”. It’s understood that the woman was released after being given a caution, while a 44-year-old man remains on police bail as enquiries continue.
The solicitor representing the family, Arshaid Bashir of Adam Law Solicitors, said: “This is an assault on a child where derogatory language has been used.
“It is a racially aggravated assault.
“There was serious harm to a child who was attacked due to her appearance.
“The CPS ought to have been consulted prior to any decision being made. Public duty requires the perpetrator to be prosecuted.
“At the very least the perpetrator should have been charged with affray as part of joint enterprise with the co-accused as unlawful violence was used towards another which caused other persons to fear for their safety.
“There are aggravating features in this case as it was a busy public area, children were present and it was a sustained attack.”
Redana’s school statement on the incident
The girl’s school also made a statement on the incident.
“We are aware of an incident that has happened outside of school where it appears that some of our students have suffered abuse from members of the public,” said Silverdale School.
“We are supporting the students and their families in any way needed,” it said, adding, “Given that this is an ongoing police investigation, we won’t be commenting further.”
Anti-Muslim hatred has significantly risen in Europe in recent years. Far-right extremism and xenophobia have fueled anti-Muslim hatred in Western countries, where terror attacks by Daesh and al-Qaida are used as an excuse to legitimize those views.
Although enmity toward Muslims is not a new phenomenon, it intensified after 9/11. Since then, for almost two decades, Islam has been unjustly tarnished with labels that have negative connotations and portrayed as a religion of hate and violence with anti-Western sentiment and women’s oppression. This trend of intolerance has triggered deadly attacks against Muslims and immigrants since then.
With growing racism emerging as a serious problem in almost all EU states, citizens of foreign origin are more vulnerable in some countries. Anti-Muslim hatred in the U.K. has shown a sharp rise since the 2017 terror attacks in London and Manchester.