A picture of a woman wearing a hijab and looking at her phone on Westminster Bridge, after the Westminster terror attack, as people gathered around an injured person, has become fodder for an Islamophobic meme. And now the woman has spoken out against the online abuse she has faced.
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
The picture soon went viral and many people trolled the woman for not caring about the attack victims. The picture was circulated on many anti-Islam blogs as well. The woman approached Tell Mama, a group which fights against anti-Muslim incidents and has given them a statement to circulate on her behalf.
“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.”
She has requested the media to stop circulating her picture. The photographer who took her picture, Jamie Lorriman, also defended her.
“She’s in the middle of an unfolding horrific scene … I think her expression to me says that she’s horrified by what she’s seen and she just needs to get out of the situation,” he said.
She says that the greater the exposure of the picture, the more she will be harassed.
Twitter also has been forthcoming in its support of the woman, saying that she is being unnecessarily trolled. We need to stop using social media to bully and harass people!