Recently a video went viral of a Muslim woman defending a Jewish man and his young children on a London train from a passenger who was spewing anti-Semitic rhetoric. The courageous woman, Asma Shuweikh, has been universally praised as a hero.
Asked about the inspiration behind her courage, the mother of two replied: “My model was definitely our prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. He did not accept any of this kind of intolerance toward ethnic minorities. He had friends from other faiths, from the Jewish faith and the Christian faith.”
The Forward, a Jewish Journal, recently had a chance to talk to Ms. Shuwikh, and here are some snippets from the fascinating interview:
— I decided to intervene because it was a very disturbing situation… I’ve got my own two children — I’m a mother, and I’m also a practicing Muslim, and as a practicing Muslim, you have to speak up to injustice. If you see someone who needs help or someone that’s in trouble, especially when you’re going about your daily life, it’s your duty as a Muslim — and as a mother and as a British citizen — to go out of your way to help.
— … this is what Islam teaches us, but obviously it never gets shown in the media. This is what normal Muslims believe in but it does not get portrayed that much — which is why I decided to talk to people and explain it to them so that they understand what it’s really like to be a proper Muslim, and really a proper citizen as well, and even human being really. We should not accept anything like that.
— … when I was growing up, I was spat on, and people used to pull off my hijab. At that time, the Muslim community was less well known and there weren’t as many Muslims around so it was quite difficult. It’s not as bad now, but especially with what’s going on with Brexit, we still get a lot of attacks, slurs, racial aggression towards us. And when someone does say something like that to me, I do have to talk back, I do have to say something.