Police have arrested a man after a Muslim woman stopped a torrent of anti-Semitic abuse being aimed at Jewish family on the Tube
Video filmed in London on Friday showed a man reading anti-Jewish passages to two young boys and their father, who are wearing kippot on the crowns of their heads.
During the footage the woman, who has now been revealed as mother-of-two Asma Shuweikh, steps in telling the man ‘there are children in here’, causing her to be applauded on Twitter for her bravery in trying to help.
Some people called her ‘a star’ while others said although the clip was heartbreaking to see, Mrs Shuweikh had become a ‘hero’.
Mrs Shuweikh said: ‘I would have loved more people to come up and say something, because if everyone did, I do not think it would have escalated in the way that it did.’
‘Being a mother of two, I know what it’s like to be in that situation and I would want someone to help if I was in that situation.
‘He was quite aggressive and was getting in my face.’
Mrs Shuweikh said she got off the Tube after two stops and did not realise the video was going viral until a friend texted her to say she had seen her on Twitter.
She created a Twitter account so she could see the reaction.
She said: ‘It was so heartwarming to see the responses and see what people were saying. I can’t take all the credit because a lot of other people were involved.
‘I would not hesitate to do it again.’
On Saturday Mrs Shuweikh spoke to IlmFeed, an account that shares positive stories about Islam & Muslims and has more than 46K followers, to speak about her experience on the tube.
She said: ‘As a Muslim woman and mother I know what it’s like to be attacked and dehumanised for my faith and I couldn’t just watch and see this happen to another family with young children.’
Mrs Shuweikh also said she has been: ‘Overwhelmed by the amazing response [after the video was shared].. from people of all different faiths and backgrounds’
Hundreds of people responded to the shocking video which was filmed on the Northern Line and praised Mrs Shuweikh’s actions on Twitter.
One person said: ‘Big shout out to the (Muslim?) lady in the head scarf, very courageous of her to intervene. She was very calm and police and spoke out to defend the Jewish family, what a credit to her religion.’
While another person said: ‘That lady is incredibly brace standing up to him like that. He acted very threatening and she kept her cool brilliantly.’
And someone else added: A Muslim lady going to the defence of a Jewish father and son gives me renewed hope for the future of this wonderful country of ours. Let’s try and find out who she is so we can thank her for her wonderful courage and support.’
Others joined in the praise, saying: ‘Terrible, but kind of lovely that the Muslim woman was the one who stepped in.’
Responding to this, another person said: ‘It’s lovely and heartwarming and I hope she knows how grateful many of us are. Whoever she is, she’s my hero of the day.’
A British Transport Police spokesman said: ‘A man has been arrested in connection with an anti-Semitic incident on the London Underground.
‘British Transport Police officers attended an address in Birmingham this evening, Saturday 23 November.
‘The man was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated section 5 public order offence. He remains in custody.
‘The offence itself happened on a Northern Line train at around 12pm on Friday 22 November.
‘A video widely circulated on social media showed passengers being harassed and being targeted with anti-Semitic abuse.’
The video, which was filmed on the Northern Line, shows a man standing near the door and leaning over toward the family as he reads aloud from a text in his hand.
He can be heard saying phrases including references to the ‘synagogue of Satan’ and reading ‘I will make them come and worship before your feet’.
The father puts his arm around his son and tries to distract him by talking about other things as they ride the south-bound, Charing Cross-branch train.
But the other passenger thrusts the book further in front of the boy and continues to talk aloud.
Other passengers on the train try to intervene as the man squares up to them.
He says: ‘You need to get out of my face or I will smack you right in your nose, man. Back up from me. I’m not no Christian pastor. Back the f*** up from me.’
A woman standing near the confrontation addresses the man but only snippets of the conversation can be heard. She says: ‘There are children in here. Come on man!’
The man responds by saying: ‘Listen, these people are impostors, trying to claim our heritage. Do you care about your people?’
Mrs Shuweikh then calmly holds out a hand as if to pacify the man and says: ‘I respect your opinion…’
But the man cuts her off and says: ‘No, it’s not my opinion. It’s God’s words. It’s God’s words.’
The pair continue to debate while the father-and-son begin their own conversation in the opposite direction.
The tannoy sounds as the carriage approaches another stop and the video ends shortly after.
Journalist Chris Atkins, 43, who took the video, said: ‘The Muslim woman didn’t take any sh** from him and really, really took him to task, very firmly and persistently.
‘In this day and age we are told how intolerant everyone is and all religions hate each other and there you had a Muslim woman sticking up for some Jewish children.’
He added: ‘I’ve lived in London for 20 years and you’re used to people ranting on the Tube – it was only after a minute I realised, “hang on this is really, really antisemitic”.
‘It was the children that really got me and everyone else, he was just screaming at these children. It was horrific in every sense.
‘He seemed to be a very committed Christian and believed this was the word of God – that it said in the Bible Jews killed Jesus and they are all slave masters.
‘It’s the kind of stuff you see on Twitter a lot, but to hear someone actually say it unashamedly was shocking.’
Mr Atkins filmed for around two minutes ‘on instinct’ before moving to swap seats with the young boy next to the man.
Mr Atkins said: ‘I was sat between the guy and the family to try and be a bit of a barrier.
‘Then another guy came up and started talking to him who was very good, who basically said “what is it in the Bible?” and “tell me where it shows that” just to divert attention away from the family.
‘It was horrific but it was also quite heartening to see Londoners of all creeds and colours taking him to task.’
Mr Atkins said the family got off the train a few stops later at Leicester Square and the father of the two boys gave him consent to share the video on Twitter.
Mr Atkins said he has spoken to the police and given them information, and said he is willing to give a witness statement if needed.
The video was posted on to Twitter earlier today alongside the caption: ‘Around noon I witnessed appalling anti Semitic abuse towards this Jewish Family on the northern line.
‘Fair play to other passengers who stood up to him. If you recognise the guy please report to @metpoliceuk.’
British Transport Police said that they had been made aware of the abuse and that their enquiries are still ongoing.
In a statement the British Transport Police said: ‘We are aware of a video circulating on Twitter which shows passengers being harassed and being targeted with anti-Semitic abuse on a Northern Line train.
‘Enquiries are being made in relation to this footage.
‘Anyone who witnessed what happened, or who has any information, is asked to contact BTP by sending a text to 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 357 of 22/11.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Raven Saunt and Bryony Jewell