Woman photographed in hijab on Westminster Bridge responds to Islamophobic abuse

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A Muslim woman who was photographed on Westminster Bridge has responded to Islamophobic memes that have been published after the deadly attack in London on Wednesday, The Guardian reported.

The photo captured a woman wearing a hijab, apparently glancing at her phone on the bridge as people huddled around an injured victim close by.

The picture was than circulated on twitter and by anti-Islam blogs, where social media users accused the Muslim women of not caring.

A second picture that was taken clearly showed her upset.

The woman asked Tell Mama, a group that monitors anti-Muslim cases to share a statement on her behalf in response to the Islamophobic rhetoric flooding the net.

“I’m shocked and totally dismayed at how a picture of me is being circulated on social media,” she said. “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.”

She explained that she felt sad, afraid, and concerned at the time of the incident and that she had spoken to other witnesses and offered her help.

She said that she called her family and helped a woman go to Waterloo station.

“My thoughts go out to all the victims and their families,” she added.

She thanked Jamie Lorriman, who took the picture, for defending her.

Lorriman, told the Guardian he felt the pictures “clearly showed the woman in distress”

“Looking back at the pictures now she looks visibly distraught in both pictures in my opinion,” he said. “She’s in the middle of an unfolding horrific scene ... I think her expression to me says that she’s horrified by what she’s seen and she just needs to get out of the situation. We were all being told to clear the bridge at various stages, so it’s not unreasonable to think she’d been told to leave the bridge at some point just like everybody else.”

The photographer said he felt the stronger reaction to the picture was coming from people who sided with the Muslim woman. “People going, ‘you weren’t there, you didn’t see it, you’ve no idea what that woman’s thinking, so how can you possibly assume that she’s just casually on her phone?’ It’s good to see that that seems to be the overwhelming response to the messages that are being put out there by certain people.”

Many tweets were sent defending the woman. Some users shared images of the scene on Westminster Bridge that showed other passersby appearing unconcerned.

Others said she was likely to have been in shock and phoning family or friends.