Sheffield schoolgirl left traumatised after being ‘strangled with her own hijab’ in shocking bus attack
A Sheffield schoolgirl says she has been left traumatised and scared to leave the house after being punched and strangled with her own hijab in a ‘racially aggravated’ attack while travelling on the bus.
Sisters Redana Al-hadi, aged 14, and 13-year-old Wadaad Al-hadi, from Upperthorpe, were travelling home with a group of friends from Silverdale School on an 88 single decker service bus, bound for Ecclesfield, when the attack took place shortly after 4:30pm on Wednesday, December 4.
Mobile phone footage of the city centre incident was shared online and appears to show a woman embroiled in a row with the girls and their friends before the argument spills out of the bus on to Ecclesall Road.
The woman can be seen on top of Redana as they are both on the ground.
Redana says the argument initially started after a man on the bus began to mock the group's accents and because the girls were wearing a hijab.
She said: “As we were getting off the bus he stood up and screamed the N word towards my friend and then my friend reacted but a little boy at the back of the bus stood up and said don’t call her that, we’re black. Then the lady stood up and started pushing the man towards the back of the bus and then she punched him.”
Redana says a short argument broke out between the man and the woman – thought to have known each other – before the man grabbed one of the children.
She said the woman then turned on her and began shouting racial slurs.
Redana added: “She then threw herself at me and dragged me out the bus, and as she dragged me to the floor she strangled me with my hijab and then my little sister tried to stop it and the man grabbed my sister by her waist and threw her into oncoming traffic.
“She kicked me in my neck and knocked me out with her fist and started smashing my head and stamping on me while my arm was over my face and I thought I broke my arm. My face is all swollen and it’s a mess.”
A 40-year-old woman and a 44-year-old man were arrested.
Redana was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured eye socket and is awaiting results of an x-ray. She said she has been left traumatised and scared to leave the house.
“I feel targeted because I’m a Muslim girl and I’ve not gone back to school because I’m too scared to go back on the bus or to leave my house,” she said. “I’m scared of adults harassing me and I already had bad eyesight, I wear glasses, and the eye she damaged is my good eye.”
The girls' mother Racheda Ali, 51, said: “When I got the phone call from my Wadaad my youngest saying ‘mum she’s killing my sister, she’s attacking Redana and attacking us’, I just didn’t know what to do. When we got there all the children were crying because they were all scared and shaking. My daughter was having a panic attack, it’s just ridiculous what they did to her.”
The solicitor representing the family, Arshaid Bashir of Adam Law Solicitors, said: “This is an assault on a child where derogatory language has been used. It is a racially aggravated assault. There was serious harm to a child who was attacked due to her appearance.
“The CPS ought to have been consulted prior to any decision being made. Public duty requires the perpetrator to be prosecuted.
“At the very least the perpetrator should have been charged with affray as part of joint enterprise with the co-accused as unlawful violence was used towards another which caused other persons to fear for their safety. There are aggravating features in this case as it was a busy public area, children were present and it was a sustained attack.”