Plymouth: Muslim schoolgirl’s headscarf ‘ripped off’ in bus stop attack

The bus stop in Plymouth where the schoolgirl was attacked

The bus stop in Plymouth where the schoolgirl was attacked (Image: BPM Media)

A Muslim girl had her hijab “ripped off” in a “racially aggravated” attack at a bus stop.

As the 16-year-old was on her way to school to take an exam, a woman approached her outside the Christian Center on Embankment Road in Plymouth.

Devon and Cornwall Police say the woman – believed to be 18 or 19 – first argued on her mobile phone a few seats away from the victim shortly before Friday morning’s incident.

When the call ended, she reportedly turned angrily on the student, initially barking “What’s your problem,” although the girl later told officers she tried not to look her way.

Without provocation, the suspect then tried to hit her but missed before pulling the hijab off her head.

A kind-hearted member of the public saw that the girl was upset and scared and escorted her on the bus to make sure she got to school safely.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said the student was “extremely upset” by this attack, which is believed to have been aggravated by racism, and was therefore unable to take her exam.

“We believe at least one other person at the bus stop witnessed the incident,” the statement said.

“This was an unprovoked attack on a young student on her way to school.

“The motive for the attack is unknown but is believed to have been racially or religiously aggravated by the woman’s wearing of the hijab.

“Hijab is worn by some Muslim girls and women to protect their modesty and privacy from unrelated men.

“It would have been very upsetting for her as she felt her privacy was being violated in such a public place.”

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Justin Scacco

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