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11th Aug 2018

Bus firm apologises after driver demands Muslim mother remove her niqab

James Dawson

“He was insinuating I was going to bomb the bus”

A Bristol bus company has been forced to apologise after one of its drivers said he would only allow a Muslim woman onto a bus if she removed her veil.

The 20-year-old mother was with her two-month-old child when the man asked her to remove her niqab on the 1 July.

She told the Bristol Post: “He said he couldn’t see my face, and that he didn’t know what I was ‘capable of doing’.

“He said I was scary and I was dangerous, and he kept talking about it during the journey. I didn’t say anything.

“He continued to insult me, and he made me out to be a terrorist, and kept saying everyone should see each other’s faces. He asked why I was wearing a balaclava.

She added: “He was insinuating I was going to bomb the bus.”

Footage showed the woman’s fellow passengers confronting the driver following the incident. A female passenger said “It’s her choice what she wears.”

With the driver responding: “I care because this world is dangerous. If you don’t see somebody’s face, that’s not good.”

A First West of England spokesman said: “We have fully and unreservedly apologised to the customer for the distress caused when one of our drivers expressed his personal opinions and behaved in an offensive fashion that in no way reflects our deeply held values as an inclusive company which welcomes all people, irrespective of background, race, nationality or religion as customers and employees.

“We have reminded staff of our expectations and behaviours that are demanded of them.

“The driver has been censured through the company’s disciplinary procedures for this incident, which is a matter the company takes very seriously.

“We are also helping the police with their inquiries and we are arranging a meeting with the customer to apologise in person and discuss matters in more detail.”

Earlier this week former foreign secretary Boris Johnson made headlines after he said he found the covering worn by some Muslim women “oppressive”. He also asked why they would “go around looking like letter boxes” and compared them to “bank robbers”.