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Muslim woman punched in racist attack in Barking and Dagenham

PUBLISHED: 09:16 15 May 2013

Two Muslim women were attacked by strangers in parks, with both incidents being reported within days of each other.

A woman wearing a hijab veil in Greatfields Park in Barking was repeatedly punched in the head by two white women who branded her a “Muslim terrorist”.

It was one of two racially-motivated incidents reported last week to anti-Muslim attack support service Tell Mama, which is run by the charity Faith Matters.

Although the woman didn’t speak English, her young child understood what the attackers were calling his mother, and alerted the police and the charity – telling them she had been left traumatised by the ordeal.

The incident, on Sunday, May 5, happened at around 5.30pm when the 48-year-old victim was playing with her two children.

An argument broke out between her children and another child over the swings and when she tried to intervene, two women – one thought to be another parent – confronted her.

The victim, a Somalian who wants to remain anonymous, made motions to say she could not speak English, but the women attacked her, punching her on the head while shouting racist accusations.

The suspects, both white females, left the park in a blue car and the victim was taken to hospital with swelling and bruising.

The charity said another woman wearing a hijab was verbally-abused by a young girl in Valence Park, Dagenham, who set her dog on the victim and her young children.

A spokeswoman from Tell Mama said: “The victim in Valence Park didn’t request support but the other case was very violent. We reported it to the police and made an immediate referral to victim support.

“The majority of cases happen online but in terms of street-level offences we find the vast majority are against veiled women and we have had some quite shockingly violent cases like this one.”

Since the Tell Mama project began in February 2012, a number of incidents have been reported from the borough, including a woman who was racially abused on a train in April and a group of youths shouting at Muslims visiting a mosque in Barking in July last year.

Anyone who witnessed the incident at Greatfields Park should contact Barking and Dagenham Police on 101.

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