Ikram Ali, a 17-year-old Muslim student from Enfield, England, was attacked in early June by a white man who threw a package of raw bacon on her face in yet another reprehensible Islamophobic attack. Alex Chivers, a 36-year-old man from Waltham Cross, was responsible for the assault and was just sentenced to serve 26 weeks in jail.
While recounting the incident this week, Ali explained that she was on her way to a polling station with her mother and sister when Chivers shoved the raw bacon on her face. She also heard him calling her "scum" and saying that she "deserved it."
"I was unable to see and breathe for a while and at this point I couldn’t understand why. I was being suffocated. I thought I was dead," Ali told BuzzFeed News. "I didn’t know what hit me. It was only when the bacon peeled off my face and it fell to the ground, and the male behind me started shouting, 'Bacon, bacon, it’s bacon,' that I started to grasp what was happening to me."
Ali also posted an account of the attack on her sister’s Instagram account.
Ali claimed Chivers was not alone and that he escaped on a motorcycle with another man. A police officer from Enfield Community Safety Unit, James Payne, said in a statement that the second man, who is yet to be identified, filmed the attack. Payne also added that "this was a truly shocking incident."
Ali went public with her story to let people know that the vitriol against Muslims is real, but she placed the real blame on the media rather than Chivers himself. "They misrepresent Muslims," she said. "I’m an A-level student studying maths, biology, and chemistry, with hopes and dreams just like anyone else out there."
In her video, she also said that "you don’t understand until it happens to you." While speaking with BuzzFeed News, she said, "Islamophobia is real, and it is out there and because of the way Muslim women choose to dress, we’re unfortunately a target."
Despite this ordeal, Ali claims that she is still optimistic. "I still choose to believe there’s more good out there than bad, and that my hijab will not hinder me in my life," she said.