Mum tells of race hate attack horror in street

Picture posed by model
Picture posed by model

A woman who was subjected to racist abuse and had beer thrown over her in a Blackpool street says she is afraid to go out following the attack.

Rashida Begum, 33, was on her way to pick up her children from school when she was confronted in Egerton Road, North Shore.

She had beer thrown in her face and was subject to racist abuse during the incident last Monday.

Now she feels worried about going out alone – something she hasn’t experienced in 13 years on the Fylde coast.

Mum-of-three Rashida, who is British-born, said: “I was only out there because my husband was running late.

“He went to South Shore to pick the older children up so I said I would walk to pick up the little one.

“I was walking up the road and I could see the group coming along the street near the shop. There were four of them. I was just walking along.

“I had a bad feeling about them but I just thought I would keep my head down and walk by. Then one of them chucked beer at me as I passed. It went in my mouth.

“They were all giggling and then the one of them then muttered something about ISIS.”

Rashida, who was wearing a hijab and a long dress at the time of the incident, cannot believe the man would show such a lack of respect.

She said: “I’ve been called offensive names before but that has been by kids. There’s been nothing like this.

“The beer went in my mouth. We are forbidden to partake of alcohol.

“Not only that but it was Ramadan and I’ve broken my fast. It might be a joke to them but it is my belief.

“We live in a tolerant country and this should not happen.”

Rashida, who helps her husband at work in a Blackpool takeaway, believes last month’s vote to leave the European Union has emboldened those with intolerant views to share them.

Lancashire Police said there had been no reported rise in the immediate aftermath of the EU vote but hate crimes surged 42 per cent across the country since June 23, police figures show.

But Rashida believes it has played a part.

She said: “The Brexit hasn’t helped. People with these views feel they have a voice. I’m just really upset that I’ve been targeted because of my hijab.”

And she also aimed criticism at extremists within her own religion.

“It is just a tiny minority.

“But the vast majority end up with the same label. ISIS are without doubt making it more difficult.”

Despite the unpleasant incident, Rashida, who lives in Bispham, is determined to carry on with her life.

She said: “I didn’t want to go out after the attack, my husband had to pick the children up. We went away to celebrate Eid with my family in Leeds.

“Now I just want to get on with my life, I can’t left it affect me.”

Lancashire Police is treating the incident as a hate crime and are appealing for witnesses.

The force has made clear it will not tolerate any such incidents and has called on victims to make sure they report every case.

Chief Insp Ian Mills, of Lancashire Police, said: “We stand together with all communities and will take action against any criminal behaviour which seeks to undermine society, especially where crimes are motivated by hate.

“Hate crimes are committed by a small minority of people and are not representative of the public.

“While we have not seen an increase in reported hate crimes and hate incidents in Lancashire, there is clearly some concern in the community these crimes may be experienced but go unreported.

“We have zero tolerance for hate crime and hate incidents or any abuse.

“We take all reports of this nature seriously.”

Hate crimes are any crimes targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s disability, race, ethnicity, religion, belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity.

Such offences can include name-calling and vulgarity.

There are a number of ways people can report hate crimes.

These include the Lancashire Council of Mosques helpline, where trained call handlers are available to take calls and work with the victims. The service can be contacted on (01254) 589699.

Alternatively, staff at Lancashire Victim Services can take third party reports and provide essential support and counselling for all victims of hate crime and hate incidents.

They can be contacted on 0300 323 0085 or via www.lancashirevictimservices.org.

Anyone who experiences hate crime can report it to police by calling 101, via the True Vision website (www.report-it.org.uk) or third party reporting services in Lancashire.

Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always dial 999.

If you have information on the Egerton Road incident call 101 quoting log number 0926 of July 4.