A young Muslim woman became target of racial discrimination after she was allegedly attacked by two men in Anderlues, a town near Brussels in Belgium.
The 19-year-old woman, who remains unnamed, was walking home alone in an alley when two men approached her and reportedly assaulted her.
The men stood in her way and ripped off her hijab. The attack didn’t end there, as the men then tore her shirt apart exposing her upper body.
The woman tried to escape, but the assailants reportedly hurled racial slurs at her and called her a “filthy Arab.” They then caught her and pushed her to the ground, carving crosses on her body using a sharp object.
After the physical assault, the racist men fled the scene.
Local authorities launched an investigation into the incident, however, they didn’t release any information regarding the woman’s health condition.
Mayor of the town, Philippe Tison, addressed the incident in a Facebook post and said he was “shocked” to learn about it.
“It is a heinous and despicable act that saddens all elected officials and the entire population. On behalf of the communal college, I wish to provide all my support to the victim and his loved ones. As Belgium lives moments of pride and joy thanks to the exploits of our national team, we must recall that we are a country of tolerance and openness. Are our best scorers and heroes of the last few days not of foreign origin? They are the soul of our country and of Anderlues!” he said.
Incidents of racially motivated hate crimes in Europe have seen a sharp increase.
The influx of migrants, mostly Muslims, to Europe last year has increased social tensions, especially in eastern Germany, where there have been some high-profile attacks on refugee shelters.
According to a report, Islamophobia is on the rise in Europe. The report showed there had been a total of 908 reported attacks on Muslims in 2017. Apart from the attacks, negative sentiment against Muslims in the region is also increasing.
A survey conducted by independent foundation Bertelsmann Foundation asked respondents whether they liked having a Muslim neighbor. One-fifth of the voters said they didn’t want to live next to a Muslim.
In #Belgium assailants attacked a 19 year old woman! She was stripped of her upper clothing & headscarf & a cross was carved/razored into her chest !!— Yazz (@AussieYazz) July 4, 2018
Tell me again how #Muslims are the problem! #WomensRights #WomenUnderSiege #Islamophobia #bigotry #Whiteprivelage #Mysogyny
This is not only an #Islamophobic #HateCrime, but it's a #SexualAssault, too.— Ruba Ali Al-Hassani (@RubaAlHassani) July 6, 2018
NEVER lose sight of the fact that #racism is always gendered, and #women are always on the receiving end.#Muslim #woman assaulted in #Belgium, her #hijab and shirt pulled off https://t.co/5Kg573ZIhH
misogyny, racism, religion, violence https://t.co/BTu7YEPFa3— Joshua Ralston (@jbralston) July 6, 2018
🤬🤬🤬— #CuriousArab (@CuriousArab) July 6, 2018
"They took off her headscarf. Tore apart her shirt, exposing her upper body. Hurled racial slurs, calling her a 'filthy Arab'. Knocked her to the ground. Used a sharp object to cut her body, including her torso, stomach, and legs, in the shape of a cross." https://t.co/N1aNVvjZkU