For many of you, the routine of the cramped commute to and from work will be a familiar experience. Now and again, if you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself seated, whilst those less fortunate cram into the aisles and steady themselves as best they can. Considering the tightly packed and often uncomfortably warm conditions on such services, passengers generally treat their fellows with respect and consideration, although on occasion tempers can flair when those of a tetchy disposition give vent to their dissatisfaction. Thus it was one night last week that the following incident took place on a train about to embark upon its regular journey, linking a number of our northern towns.
The service was busy, and all seats were taken. Some faces were familiar, others not so, and most people had settled down into their early evening routine of texting, surfing the net, listening to music, and amongst other things, staring vacantly into space. A number of people were even engaged in that now seemingly quaintly old-fashioned but agreeable pastime of reading a book in its physical form. For a change, nobody within earshot was speaking at volume into their mobile phone about familial minutiae, their health ailments or pretending to broker an important work deal. All in all, it was a quiet evening, or so it seemed until a voice exploded against the shuffling, sneezing, page-rustling backdrop. I turned my head. Dozens of pairs of ears pricked up.
“Do you mind?!”“I’m sorry?”“Get your dog away from me!”“He’s alright.”“Get it away from me!”“He doesn’t bite.”“Get it away from me! Get it away! It’s dirty!”
I saw an angry face framed in black, eyes glowering with disgust, glaring towards a woman in late middle age, clutching a small and perfectly harmless dog; evidently, her much-loved pet, but regarded by the indignant black-cloaked figure with as much affection as a witchfinder would have possessed for a solitary old woman’s ‘familiar’. The dog had not touched the scowling woman in black, and neither had it breathed upon her. Its mere proximity was sufficient to prompt the outpourings of an intolerant religious zealot; a scriptural literalist revelling in her power to impose her bigoted opinions without fear of challenge because of her ‘minority’ status. What an ugly scene this was.
The lady with the lapdog, clearly upset, moved away, carrying her pet back into a more crowded part of the train, whilst the woman in black sat and scowled. She scowls still, for she is a regular on this service, and her character and cast of mind appear not to be of a sunny disposition. It is owing to this shameful behaviour that her picture, taken moments after the outburst described, has been posted below. The attitudes displayed by the woman in black and the aggressively assertive manner in which they were expressed, are at one with those found in a video entitled ‘Muslim Patrol’ created by some of her co-religionists in London, which portrays a group of intimidating vigilantes seeking to impose Islamic law one Saturday night. It seems that Anjem Choudary’s group was behind this, for one of the voices on the video very closely resembles his. Youtube removed this video, declaring that it had sought to ‘harass, bully or threaten’. However, it can still be viewed on The Daily Mail website here.