Sadly, stories of racial harassment are all too common these days. But the case of Ruhi Rahman has a positive outcome — and can teach us all a thing or two about standing up for what’s right.
Rahman was travelling with her sister on the metro in Newcastle this week when a man began to harass her. According to a post on her Facebook page, he made threatening comments such as, “get out of this seat now this is my country” and “you’re bombing different countries and don’t deserve to be here or in this country.”
However, instead of having to deal with the harassment alone, Rahman found herself with an ally in the stranger standing next to her on the train. She “supported me and helped,” Rahman said, adding, “After a while most of the people on the metro came over and spoke up for us and were being so supportive.”
A witness to the incident, who wants to remain anonymous, confirmed Rahman’s story: “A few of us immediately told him to back off and leave them alone, then quite quickly pretty much the whole carriage joined in. Everyone from mams to students to nanas were telling this kid to leave the lasses alone and told him that he was the one that needed to leave, as he stamped his feet a little bit and half-arsedly tried to argue that he shouldn’t have to leave and we’d be sorry when the women blew the train up.” [sic]
The witness continued, “But by this point he was being pretty much yelled at by everyone who were telling him to get off at the next station. Two older blokes in their toon tops and scarves came forward and said he could leave at the next stop or he was getting dragged off. So he tottled off with his hate filled little tail between his legs while the carriage clapped and gave a little cheer and the women thanked and hugged everyone for sticking up for them and said how lovely it was that everyone came together for such a display of unity.” [sic]
At a time when the news is filled with terror attacks and threats, and a backlash against refugees and Muslims living in the U.K., Rahman’s experience reminds us that what the tabloids say isn’t necessarily a reflection of the feelings of the ordinary people on the street. Many of us feel helpless right now, but there’s true power in coming together and taking action whenever we see acts of hatred.