A woman whose image became an Islamophobic meme after the Westminster terror attack has told of her horror and distress at the incident and the abuse she suffered afterwards.
The picture shows the woman wearing a hijab and looking at her phone on Westminster Bridge as people gathered around an injured person nearby. It was circulated on Twitter and by anti-Islam blogs as supposed evidence of her lack of concern. One social media user posted it alongside a photo of the Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood performing CPR on a victim with the caption “the main difference between Muslims and Christians”.
Another picture in the sequence made clear that she was distressed when it was taken. Now the woman has approached Tell Mama, a group which monitors anti-Muslim incidents, and asked them to circulate a statement on her behalf in response.
“I’m shocked and totally dismayed at how a picture of me is being circulated on social media,” she said. “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.”