Muslim woman on bridge during Westminster attack speaks out after becoming target of Islamophobes

Adam Boult
This image of a woman in a hijab at the scene of the terrorist incident on Westminster Bridge became a focus for anti-Islamic trolls - Jamie Lorriman

A photograph of a woman in a hijab walking along Westminster Bridge in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday's terror attack drew the attention of several commenters on social media.

Several  far-right extremists were among those who shared the photo, attempting to portray the woman as uncaring towards the nearby victims.

Jamie Lorriman, who took the photo, spoke out in defence of the woman telling Australia’s ABC: “The people who took on that picture are being rather selective ... It’s wrong it’s been misappropriated in that way.”

“The look on the woman’s face, she’s horrified, she’s in the middle of a traumatic situation. She probably just wanted to get off the bridge.

“I feel so sorry for the woman in the picture. If she’s seen this, she must feel awful.”

The woman has now given a statement to Tell MAMA, a group which collates anti-Muslim incidents in the UK, saying: “I’m shocked and totally dismayed at how a picture of me is being circulated on social media.

"To those individuals who have interpreted and commented on what my thoughts were in that horrific and distressful moment, I would like to say not only have I been devastated by witnessing the aftermath of a shocking and numbing terror attack, I’ve also had to deal with the shock of finding my picture plastered all over social media by those who could not look beyond my attire, who draw conclusions based on hate and xenophobia.

"My thoughts at that moment were one of sadness, fear, and concern. What the image does not show is that I had talked to other witnesses to try and find out what was happening, to see if I could be of any help, even though enough people were at the scene tending to the victims.

"I then decided to call my family to say that I was fine and was making my way home from work, assisting a lady along the way by helping her get to Waterloo station.

"My thoughts go out to all the victims and their families. I would like to thank Jamie Lorriman, the photographer who took the picture, for speaking to the media in my defence."

Westminster terror attack shooting in pics

Speaking to the Guardian Lorriman said: “She’s in the middle of an unfolding horrific scene... I think her expression to me says that she’s horrified by what she’s seen and she just needs to get out of the situation.

“We were all being told to clear the bridge at various stages, so it’s not unreasonable to think she’d been told to leave the bridge at some point just like everybody else.”

He added that many other people had come to the woman’s defence: “People going, ‘you weren’t there, you didn’t see it, you’ve no idea what that woman’s thinking, so how can you possibly assume that she’s just casually on her phone?'

“It’s good to see that that seems to be the overwhelming response to the messages that are being put out there by certain people.”

Key articles | London attack

 

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