Family of woman run over in hijab accuse police of failing to probe ‘hate crime’

The family of a woman who was hit by a car while wearing a hijab are calling for the police to reinvestigate the incident after it was deemed as a road traffic incident (stock image)  (PA)
The family of a woman who was hit by a car while wearing a hijab are calling for the police to reinvestigate the incident after it was deemed as a road traffic incident (stock image) (PA)

The family of a woman who was hit by a car while wearing a hijab is calling for the police to re-investigate the incident after it was deemed as an “unfortunate” road traffic incident.

Misbah Sadique, 37, has been left with severe injuries after she was hit by a car in Walthamstow in what she and her family believe to be a targeted Islamophobic attack.

She remains in hospital recovering from her injuries more than three weeks after the incident happened on Shernall Street on February 1.

As Ms Sadique and her friend, who were both wearing hijabs, were crossing the road, a red car initially stopped and allegedly “waved” to let them pass.

Did you witness the incident? Email athena.stavrou@independent.co.uk

However, CCTV footage then shows the vehicle unexpectedly accelerate and hit the two women while they were directly in front of the car.

Ms Sadique’s friend, Kulsum, was thrown into the air across the road while she herself was dragged under the car. The 37-year-old remains in the hospital recovering from severe injuries including a broken ankle, fractured ribs, and is in “constant pain”.

The women were crossing the road on Shernall Street when they were struck down (file photo) (Google Maps)
The women were crossing the road on Shernall Street when they were struck down (file photo) (Google Maps)

The incident was formally recorded as a hate crime before the force concluded it to be an “unfortunate” road traffic incident on February 5.

“This whole incident has left my family and I totally distraught,” Ms Sadique’s cousin, Nazia Tayyib, said. “The fact that this happened on our doorstep, in a place that is our home and has always felt safe, is extremely scary. Not just for us as a family but also for the wider Muslim community.”

She added: “Many members of my family saw Misbah’s lifeless-looking body under the car, a trauma that will remain with them for years to come.”

“Her elderly mother is still finding it hard to sleep or eat. The whole night has left us all traumatised. The continuing effects of this trauma I feel will stay with us forever.”

Ms Tayyib said her family felt let down by the Metropolitan Police’s response to the incident after they concluded the incident to be a road traffic accident rather than a hate crime.

The conclusion was made before the force had taken Ms Sadique’s statement which “dismayed” her family.

“This decision was made without any contact with our family or Misbah, who remains in hospital. It was only after repeated requests from the family and a call to 101 that officers attended our home,” Ms Tayyib said.

“The impact of this potential hate crime was compounded by the inadequate response from the police.”

They added that it took the police 23 days to take the wounded woman’s statements, despite claiming they told the police she was medically ready before.

Five days after the incident, the Met Police said that there was no indication that the women were deliberately targetted.

They added that they had reviewed CCTV footage and that they would speak with Misbah when “medically appropriate”.

The Met Police statement said: “One of the women felt they had been targeted due to their Islamic dress, and as such this incident has been formally recorded as a hate crime.

“However, our investigation – including viewing of CCTV – leads us to believe that the women were not in any way deliberately targeted. This was an unfortunate road traffic collision.”

Ms Tayyib said the incident had impacted her family’s perception of the police and added: “Since Oct 7th, the Muslim community and our family do not feel as though the authorities are aware of the impact that increased Islamophobia is having on Muslims.

“In our case, the Police have not done their job properly and even now won't even properly consider the evidence to assess it as a hate crime.”

It comes as Muslims in Britain say they are too scared to leave their homes after dark, as new figures show the number of Islamophobic incidents has skyrocketed since the 7 October attack on Israel by Hamas.

Charity Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU) says it saw a 365 per cent increase in reports of Islamophobia in October, following Hamas’s deadly attacks in Israel that left more than 1,200 people dead.

“Since October 2023 IRU has seen a sustained increase in reports to the unit,” said IRU CEO Majid Iqbal. “It is clear that this is now developing into a long-term trend and is having a profound impact on those affected by it.