Britain

Antisemitic Tube rant: Witness was worried man would turn violent

By Bethany Minelle, news reporter

The woman who confronted a man hurling antisemitic abuse at a Jewish family on the Tube has told Sky News she thinks the situation would have become "very violent" if no one had intervened.

Asma Shuweikh was on her way to visit a friend in hospital when the incident took place on a Northern line train on Friday at about 12pm.

She believes the situation would have quickly escalated if she and three other passengers hadn't intervened, and says the man also turned his aggression towards her when she tried to step in.

A video, filmed by fellow passenger Chris Atkins, shows a man aggressively reading passages from the Bible to a father and his young son – including a quote about "the synagogue of Satan".

He later started accusing Jews of being "impostors" who started the slave trade.

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Antisemitic rant filmed on Tube

The video shows around two minutes of the man's rant, but Ms Shuweikh says the situation became even more heated afterwards.

Ms Shuweikh says the man, who she described as "very tall and overpowering", was directing the majority of his anger towards the little boy, who she believed to be around five or six years old.

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The Jewish man was also travelling with his wife and several other young children.

She says the abusive man, who got on the carriage at Golders Green station, initially sat down, but then saw the Jewish family and "sprinted over towards them".

The father appeared to remain calm, and Ms Shuweikh suggested this might have been for the sake of his children.

Early on in the altercation, a male passenger can be seen confronting the man, who responded: "Get out of my face. I will smack you right in your nose."

Ms Shuweikh says: "With him being quite aggressive to the other passenger, I thought 'I can't just come to him and tell him what you're doing [is wrong] because he's going to be quite violent.

"I was just assessing the situation. And I thought, if I reason with him and talk to him and pretend that I'm sympathetic with what he's saying, maybe I can diffuse the problem because he was actually talking to a little boy.

A mother of two herself, she said: "It was really not nice to see that as a mother… They [the children] did actually get quite scared."

She added that the little boy was asking: "Daddy what's happening? What's going on?"

Police are investigating the incident. Pic: Chris Atkins
Image: Police are investigating the incident

Ms Shuweikh says it was while the man was abusing the family – telling them "they weren't real Jews" – that she attempted to reason with him as a Muslim woman.

"As a man of the book, I said 'If you believe in the Quran, you should give everyone the freedom to believe what they want to believe. You shouldn't stop and oppress people for what they believe in."

She says it was then he transferred his anger towards her, "coming up to my face and starting shouting at me".

Ms Shuweikh, who wears a hijab, said he accused her of being part of 9/11 – and said that, as a Muslim woman, she "shouldn't be wearing trousers".

She added: "I told him he needed to calm down, and take a step back and see where he is.

"I did start to panic when he came up into my face, but I managed to keep a calmness and keep trying to diffuse the situation.">Read More – Source