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 - War On Hijab

    Hijab pulled off woman’s head

    A MUSLIM woman was “outraged” when her hijab was pulled off her head as she walked along a street pushing a pushchair, a court heard yesterday.

    Mold Crown Court heard how Damien French, who previously fed a live rabbit to an alligator at the Welsh Mountain Zoo in Colwyn Bay, grabbed Shahenna Hussain’s veil on the streets of Rhyl, shortly after he had shouted racial abuse at a coachload of Asian passengers.

    The 21-year-old, of Brighton Road, Rhyl, admitted charges of racially aggravated common assault and a racially aggravated public order offence – but escaped an immediate prison sentence yesterday. Sentence was adjourned for three weeks for assessment.

    Mold Crown Court heard that Miss Hussain, 23, was walking with her sister and two nieces, pushing pushchairs along the street at the junction of High Street and Wellington Road one afternoon in April.

    Having seen a group including French make offensive gestures toward the coach, she put her head down to avoid eye contact and continued on her way, the court heard. But the defendant and his group noticed her and her sister as she crossed the road and he shouted and swore in racial terms towards her.

    Prosecutor Gareth Parry said, “She suddenly felt a violent grip to the top of her head, connecting with her hijab, which was fixed with two pins. Both pins were forced open.”

    She was “extremely upset and angry” and felt violated, Mr Parry said.

    Miss Hussain grabbed the pushchair and continued down the street but two police community support officers had seen what happened and French was arrested.

    He initially pleaded not guilty but changed his plea in the magistrates’ court and was committed to the Crown court for sentence.

    The court heard that among his previous convictions was one in April last year for animal cruelty when he threw a rabbit at the zoo which was eaten by an alligator.

    Defending barrister Brian Treadwell said French had written a letter of apology and accepted that his behaviour was “thoroughly shameful and disrespectful”.

    Western Mail

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