Sunday, February 12, 2017

New Zealand: Ahmadi Muslim women attacked in Huntly - 'Get out of my patch!'


"We were shaken by it, yes. But at the same time it made us feel even more strongly that Islam shouldn't be hidden in New Zealand."

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK desk
Source/Credit: News Hub | February 11, 2017
By Anna Bracewell-Worrall / Simon Wong

'They were all shaken, but it's not the first time it's happened.'

A group of Muslim women subjected to a tirade of abuse from a stranger say they will not be made to feel scared and intimidated in their own country.

The women were returning to Auckland after a road trip when they were forced to dodge punches, told they "don't belong here", and had beer thrown at them by a woman in Huntly.

"We all grew up here, with New Zealand as our home, so when people say, 'You don't belong here,' there is nowhere else we belong," Mehpara Khan told Newshub.

She believes the group were targeted because of their hijabs.

"We weren't doing anything at all. We didn't invite it in any other way, other than the fact that we were dressed in a hijab - and she took offence to that."

The attack occurred when the group stopped for a bathroom break. Two women in the group went into the toilet block, leaving three standing outside.

"This lady comes out of nowhere and is swearing at us. She was saying things like, 'You f***ing Muslim bitches', 'you don't belong here', 'you need to get out of my patch'.

"She had a couple of cans of beer on her, and she threw a can at us, which missed... And then she took a swing and I blocked it, and then I decided to start filming her.

"We couldn't leave at that point because our friends were still in the bathroom, so basically I filmed her and the rest you see on the video - where she again throws a can of beer at us and she took another swing, but my friend blocked it."

Ms Khan uploaded the video to Facebook and Twitter before handing it to Manukau police.

Ms Khan said the attack continued after she turned the camera off. When the group were all in the car with the doors locked, the woman tried to get into the car and then banged on the windows.

"Then another man that was with her called her over, and then he hugged her - I think to calm her down. While he was hugging her she was giving us the finger. And then we drove off pretty quickly after that."

She said the incident was confronting and they were all shaken, but it's not the first time it's happened.

"We were shaken by it, yes. But at the same time it made us feel even more strongly that Islam shouldn't be hidden in New Zealand. It's not something that we should be ashamed of. It's not something that we should be made to feel ashamed of."

Ms Khan said she's also been yelled at in a McDonald's on Queen St in Auckland, which also left her feeling shaken.

But despite everything, she still wants to understand why it happened, and is even open to personally meeting with the woman involved.

"I would be happy to actually try and understand why she feels the way she does. I would be open to having a constructive conversation with her.

"It doesn't shock me that there are people out there who have a negative view of Islam, because there is so much negative information sent out via the media that only represents the tiniest minority. You can't necessarily blame people for being misinformed."

Ms Khan says Islam, and the Ahmadiyya community she belongs to, teaches "love for all, hatred for none".

"That's the way we approached it. We have to raise awareness of this, as opposed to getting scared or feeling intimidated by this."

If anyone recognised the woman involved, Ms Khan encourages them to tell the police so that the woman "can get the help that she needs" and "we can ensure this doesn't happen to anyone else".

"Islamophobia exists in New Zealand. Now what are we gonna do about it?"



Read original post here: New Zealand: Ahmadi Muslim women attacked in Huntly - 'Get out of my patch!'


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