Jewish father grateful to woman who confronted man hurling abuse at his family
A Jewish man whose family was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse on the London Underground has said he wants to meet the woman who stood up for them in order to thank her.
The father said that he had been on the Tube into central London with his wife and children when a man approached them and asked if they were Jews.
In a statement, released by the Campaign Against Antisemitism on Monday, the father said the man then shouted at the family that Jews started the slave trade and were from the “synagogue of Satan”.
The father, who has not been named, added: “I was confused. I was ready for the anti-Semitic comments after the Jewish question, but I was not prepared for the hail of anti-Semitic abuse which followed.
“The only thing I could think about was the safety of my children and the best thing to do at that time was to restrain myself and try to get my children to ignore the situation.”
A video of the incident was posted on social media showing a man reading anti-Jewish bible passages to two young boys in skullcaps while they were travelling with their family on the Northern Line.
The man is seen in the video threatening a man off-camera after he tries to intervene before a woman in a hijab – Asma Shuweikh – confronts him.
The Jewish father said his family had been travelling from Hendon Central in north London to Covent Garden on Friday morning when the incident took place.
He said that they were “extremely grateful” to Ms Shuweikh for intervening and wanted to thank her in person.
He added: “We are extremely grateful for the Muslim lady wearing the headscarf, who we now know as Asma, who stepped in.
“We are certain that without her intervention and distraction, he would have continued his abuse which could have escalated to physical violence.
“I would like to meet Asma in person to thank her.
“This Tube journey has left me with mixed feelings about society.
“On the one hand my wife, my children and I were subject to vile abuse in a full Tube carriage, however I am grateful for those who stood up for me.”
A man, whose name and age has not been released by police, has been arrested and was held in Birmingham on Saturday night on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence.
Mother-of-two Ms Shuweikh, from London, told the PA news agency she “wouldn’t hesitate to do it again”.
“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,” she said.
She said when she saw what was happening she knew she “had to confront him”.
“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,” she said.
She said the couple was travelling with three children, and she wanted to deflect the man’s attention away from them.
She said: “He was quite aggressive and was getting in my face.”
Fellow commuter Chris Atkins took the video after catching the Tube heading south on the Charing Cross branch of the line at midday on Friday.
“The Muslim woman didn’t take any shit from him and really, really took him to task, very firmly and persistently,” Mr Atkins said.
“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.”