TAMARA SIDDIQUI: ‘She should not have been vilified’

Tamara Siddiqui
Tamara Siddiqui
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A picture can be misleading. But despite knowing this, thousands of people took to social media last week to judge one woman, who didn’t deserve to be vilified the way she was.

On Wednesday last week the world stood with London as those in Westminster were subjected to an horrific terrorist attack carried out by British-born Muslim Khalid Masood.

But instead of directing all their anger at him, some members of the public – in the UK and abroad – chose to vilify a young Muslim girl with a headscarf on pictured near the scene.

Most of you will have seen the image that captured the moment she walked past a victim on the floor, who was surrounded by a group of people, with one hand on her headscarf and the other gripping her phone, which she was looking at.

The image, taken by photographer Jamie Lorriman, went viral on social media with the caption: ‘Muslim woman pays no mind to the terror attack, casually walks by a dying man while checking phone #PrayForLondon #Westminster #BanIslam.’

At a time when something so cruel had happened, I’m confused as to why people instead chose to focus on a snapshot of one woman, from one single moment in time, and took it upon themselves to draw conclusions about what she was thinking and feeling.

If she was playing games on her phone, laughing and not caring about what had just happened, fair enough. People would have had the right to be angry. But that wasn’t the case and people shouldn’t have accused her of ‘paying no mind’.

That’s why I was glad when the photographer spoke out to defend the woman and shared another image of her where you can clearly see she is distressed.

I’m saddened we live in a world where such terrible things are happening anyway, yet people are eager to stir up even more hatred.