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Two Saudi women students verbally and racially abused in Norwich for wearing veils

6 April 2012 General 22 Comments Email This Post Email This Post
Flying Classrooms School of English in Tombland: Picture David Bale

Flying Classrooms School of English in Tombland: Picture David Bale

by David Bale

Police are investigating after two Saudi Arabian students were racially and verbally abused in Norwich for covering their faces with a veil.

The married women from Bowthorpe, who are learning English at the Flying Classrooms language school in Tombland, said they are now too scared to walk in the city.

The school’s director of studies Roni Snell said she was “appalled” at the incident which happened close to Debenham’s in the city centre last month.

She said: “I’m appalled and embarrassed. We have a lot of Saudi people come to study with us. The government funds their study, and a lot of students live with our 250 host families. It’s terrible for a minority of people to abuse these ladies.

“Norwich’s economy benefits greatly from having these students here and we should treat them as guests.”

One of the women, Ameera Al Busafar, 28, said: “We went together to lunch. There was an old man, just before we got to Debenham’s. He pointed a finger at my face and asked me why I was wearing my veil. He said, ‘You are in England now, take it off’.”

Amal Albuliaihi, 26, who has two children aged four and one, said another woman had also shouted the word ‘Bomb’ at her.

She added: “Most people in Norwich are very lovely, but some have a bad idea about us.

“I’m afraid and scared. I think England is the fairest country, but I cannot feel freedom when you meet people like that.”

Her friend Ameera added: “I would like people to respect me and my religion and culture, because I’m a person and I have rights. We are here to learn and study, and are not here to say bad words or do bad behaviour.

“Before I came here I thought England was freedom so I was surprised when it happened. I am now scared to walk in the street.”

Ms Snell said some people needed educating about why Muslim women wore the veil.

She said: “They feel naked when they don’t have it on. They want to keep their beauty to those they show it to – their fathers, husbands and brothers. Otherwise, it’s a private thing. It’s like someone asking us to take your clothes off.”

A Norfolk police spokesman confirmed that a hate crime had been reported to them, and that it happened on either February 20 or 21.

The spokesman said: “Two women were verbally racially abused as they walked through London Street in the city centre.

“We have spoken to the women and are keeping them updated, and a Diversity Liaison Officer has been in contact with the educational establishment the women attend to offer support from ourselves and other agencies, and local officers have been informed of the incident.

“We would encourage anyone who experiences hate crime or a hate incident to contact police as soon as possible so we can begin investigations and offer support immediately.”

Anyone with information about the London Street incident should call Norfolk Police on 101.

Original post: Two Saudi women students verbally and racially abused in Norwich for wearing veils


  1. The time to stop ALL phobias is now. It’s pure ignorance.

  2. Afrigginmen Malcolm

  3. Malcom, even arachniphobia? 😉

  4. Not all phobias are ignorant. I have arachnophobia because I’ve been bitten by spiders and it’s very painful. That’s actually a rational fear. Let’s rephrase that to say stop all descrimination.

  5. I knew what you meant.. Malcolm


  7. God bless Ms. Roni Snell for understanding that these abusive people are doing it out of ignorance and fear. The answer would be for them to get to know the people and understand their point of view. So many people in western countries don’t understand what Ms. Snell said about their veils.

  8. All we need is peace, like Jimi Hendrix said: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

  9. It’s racism pure and simple.

  10. Give peace a chance.

  11. last week had the pleasure of witnessing a VERY LARGE man shouting at a woman going into Costco wearing niqaub “That’s wrong!” and “she shouldn’t have to wear that!” (or something of that effect). The woman’s husband told him to get a life.

  12. Racism seems to exist everywhere

  13. niquab*

  14. Thankfully.. the only thing people say to me is.. Isnt that hot in the summer?

  15. horrible just horrible people are so cruel and ignorant. people need to stop spreading hate and embrace differences and talk to people they will learn new ways of experiencing life and maybe even improve on their own life.

  16. You should specify that this occurred in Norwich in the UK, not in the US. It still sucks, but still…

  17. *sadly sarcastic* I look forward to the day when European descendant peoples are profiled and systemically murdered for being themselves.

  18. disgusting were ever it happened

  19. Read about the state of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia…it is far more harshly repressive than a few slurs on the street….

  20. Tolerance is a TWO WAY street!!!

  21. @George…

    Many provinces in Saudi Arabia are highly oppressive to women and ordinary citizens – and many sheikhs uphold a very skewed version of Shariah.

    Your comparison of a democracy with a corrupted aristocracy creates the very distinction of the definition between an ideal (supposedly) democratic society versus other political systems. You cannot compare apples and oranges to make an argument that has some ground.

    Regardless, today exist some nearly ten million Christians in SA today. most of whom are living comfortably and are able to build churches. Not to say there are not hardships, but due to the fragmented nature of the political system in SA, its hard to generalise the issue of religious freedom.

  22. Here is an interesting story about people wearing Muslim clothing in the United States.

    They use the full body covernings to rob. Normally people are not allowed to cover their faces so that one can ID the suspects either inside or outside the building. If one allows full body covernings then there is no way to ID the persons and it is insensitive to ask them to remove some of their coverings.

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