“People Need to Know that This is Not OK”

In October 2014 in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, an alleged incident occurred in which a man threatened two Muslim women — a mother and her daughter — who were wearing traditional Muslim hijabs. The man allegedly told them, “We are Westerners and you’re not meant to be here.” He then punched the side mirror of the car the two women were in. James Turvey, Patrick Burgess, Justin Lanz, Mark Wojcik, and two other men intervened to help the women. The threatening man ran away when Mr. Burgess and others intervened. Mr. Burgess said about the threatening man, “He was saying the worst things [to the women], racist profanities [then] he started swinging at each of us while we were trying to defuse situation as best we could.” He added, “People need to know that this is not OK. The way this situation has gotten is so not acceptable, and people need to start taking action and actively condemning this sort of activity.” Mr. Turvey said, “If you look at YouTube videos of verbal or physical assaults on public transport, there’s grown men … guys I’m sure on the weekend are watching footy talking about how tough they are — but when people are being abused or bullied on the streets these people are so quick to turn a blind eye.” Mr. Burgess criticized people who do nothing when members of a minority group are threatened. He said, “It’s the indifference of good people that is bringing us down.” Police made an arrest in the case.

For More Information: Michael McGowan and Dan Proudman, “Skaters leap to aid of Muslim women, lecture public for ignoring abuse.” The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia). 8 October 2014


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