A Muslim woman who was photographed in the aftermath of Wednesday’s London attack is speaking out against the racist trolls who attempted to create a false and damaging narrative using her likeness.
Twitter users circulated an image of the woman, who was wearing a hijab, walking along the Westminster Bridge after the attack that left at least four people dead, including the assailant and wounded more than 40 others. Twitter user “Texas Lone Star” shared the image and accused the woman of ignoring an injured person on the ground, along with the hashtag #BanIslam.
Twitter jumped to the woman’s defense, disputing the cruel and racist assumptions being made without any factual context.
On Friday, the woman in the photo ― who has remained unnamed ― shared a statement with TellMAMA, a UK organization that tracks anti-Muslim abuse and provides support for victims, to speak out against those making bigoted judgments. After finding out what happened amid the chaos, she not only called her family, but also stopped to help a woman along her way home.
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,” she added.
Jamie Lorriman, the freelance photographer who snapped the image that wound up on Twitter, pushed back against how the photo was “misappropriated” on social media.
Other photos of the woman taken that day show her visibly upset, and support the account provided by TellMAMA and the photographer.
“The people who took on that picture are being rather selective,” Lorriman told Australia’s ABC, also referencing an additional photo in circulation. “In the other picture in the sequence she looks truly distraught ... personally I think she looks distressed in both pictures ... To assume she was ignoring someone is impossible to know, the look on the woman’s face, she’s horrified, she’s in the middle of a traumatic situation.”