The SMH tells us what Hafeez Ahmed Bhatti says about how Stacey Eden acted on that train. Spoiler: he doesn’t call her a white savior.
A man at the receiving end of an anti-Islamic tirade on a Sydney train has thanked the woman who stood up for his family and is meeting police on Friday to report the incident.
Hafeez Ahmed Bhatti, his wife and their four-month-old son were catching the train to Sydney Airport on Wednesday afternoon, after a one-day visit from Brisbane, when they were subjected to a torrent of abuse from a woman sitting opposite them.
Fellow passenger Stacey Eden was hailed a ‘legend’ for pulling out her camera phone and standing up to the woman after witnessing “a good 10 minutes” of abuse.
“Legend” is a silly word. I can discount some of Ashkitha Nagesh’s hostility toward Eden on the grounds that “legend” is a silly word applied to what she did on that train. She did the right thing, in my view, even if she didn’t word it perfectly throughout, but it was far from being such a heroic thing that it needs to be called legendary. [Update: see comments for why I was wrong about that.]
Mr Bhatti, an accountant from Pakistan, has revealed further details of what happened before Ms Eden started filming, saying the abusive passenger first touched his wife on her head and asked why she was wearing a hijab in such warm weather.
“I was [a] little shocked, she touched my wife’s head like she was blessing [her],” he said. “And then she started her ignorant comments.”
Oh, man – I’d be way more than a little shocked at that. You don’t touch people! And certainly not on the head!
The woman, wearing a red top and red floral pants, then proceeded to tell the couple that all Muslims should leave Australia and asked why they follow someone who married a six year-old child.
Ms Eden’s footage captured the woman asking Ms Bhatti’s wife: “Why do you wear it [a hijab] for a man that marries a six year-old girl?”
She rants about beheadings and the Martin Place siege while Ms Eden tells her it has nothing to do with the lady, who is sitting quietly.
Ms Eden’s smackdown ends with her angrily telling the woman: “if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything, it’s simple.”
It is, it’s very simple. You don’t berate people on trains or in shops or at the bus stop. You leave people alone unless they are…you know…verbally abusing someone.
Mariam Veiszadeh, founder of the Islamophobia Register Australia, said such incidents had become more common after the Reclaim Australia rallies earlier this month.
“Is it any surprise that such sentiments are being expressed by people out in public given the Reclaim Australia movement and the rampant Islamophobia which ensued, and the woeful silence of our political leaders, which has created an environment where Islamophobia can flourish?” she said.
“It’s about time that authorities and our government acknowledged that Islamophobia is a problem.”
Bigotry against Muslims, is what it is, and what the problem is.
Meanwhile though, Ashkitha Nagesh is getting dogpiled on Twitter, and that’s no good either.