‘Muslim women wearing hijab remain the bellweather for attitudes towards their communities, with harassment against them peaking at times of Islam-related political tension‘, writes Shakira Hussein in From Victims to Suspects: Muslim Women Since 9/11. It was therefore almost comically ironic when during a book event with Dr Hussein, she was harassed by an innocent looking elderly gentleman wearing a bow-tie. His question to her was largely unintelligible, but started with ‘You profess…’ and finished with ‘…sons of Satan’. Whatever it was, it wasn’t pleasant.
His question was shut down, not so diplomatically, by Helen Razer the co-host, leading to quite a heated exchange as the crowd started to dissipate. As he was shuffled off, a women in a hijab next to me rolled her eyes, ‘it wouldn’t be an event about Islam without a scene’.