In the wake of a deadly terrorist attack outside of the British parliament on Wednesday, photos emerged of a Muslim woman looking at her phone near one of the attack’s victims — an act that apparently prompted some social media users to accuse her of “casually [walking] by a dying man.” Others defended the woman and criticized her critics for jumping to conclusions and creating their own contexts for the photo. The woman, who remained nameless, denied the claim on Friday, adding that she was disappointed she even had to do so.
“I’m shocked and totally dismayed at how a picture of me is being circulated on social media,” she told Tell MAMA, a group that works to support victims of anti-Muslim discrimination.
“To those individuals who have interpreted and commented on what my thoughts were in that horrific and distressful moment, I would like to say not only have I been devastated by witnessing the aftermath of a shocking and numbing terror attack, I’ve also had to deal with the shock of finding my picture plastered all over social media by those who could not look beyond my attire, who draw conclusions based on hate and xenophobia.”
“My thoughts at that moment,” she added, “were of sadness, fear, and concern.”
The woman went on to explain that she had talked with other witnesses of the horrific attack to see if she could help. The picture of her holding her phone, she said, came after she “decided to call my family to say that I was fine and was making my way home from work, assisting a lady along the way by helping her get to Waterloo station.”
The man who took the now viral photograph, Jamie Lorriman, had also spoken up in defense of the woman after hearing of the reaction the image drew online, noting that the woman had appeared visibly “distressed.”
“The woman on the phone had just come from the part of the bridge where most of the victims were struck,” said Lorriman. “That is why she clearly looks mortified and it is obvious that she is in shock. The woman would have seen people under buses — she had just walked past the worst of it.”
Read the full story at The Daily Mail.