On Dec. 12, a passenger was stabbed at the Forest Hill train station in southeast London. Witnesses said the suspect, a 38-year-old male, shouted out several hateful phrases, including: “Who is a Muslim? I want to kill a Muslim?” and “Death to Muslims.”
Several witnesses took to Twitter to describe what they had seen. One tweet said that the suspect approached a couple sitting in the train’s first carriage and threatened the woman, who was wearing hijab.
After stabbing the victim—a man in his 40s who has yet to be identified—the suspect ran out of the station, chasing people and allegedly looking for anyone who was Muslim. Terrified civilians ran to avoid the man, who was reportedly walking down the street near the station for 15 minutes.
One witness described the suspect to The Independent as a Black man with short hair, who appeared to his to be in his late 30s or early 40s. The suspect was allegedly still looking for others to stab when he left the station and began walking up and down the street.
The victim was treated at the scene by EMTs and taken to the hospital. It is unclear whether he is Muslim. Police have arrested the suspect and are investigating the assault as a hate crime.
A similar incident occurred in the U.S. on Saturday, Dec. 10. A Muslim man was stabbed after leaving a mosque with a group of people in Simi Valley, Calif. According to a recent article, two men approached the group of worshippers as they were leaving the mosque on Saturday night. The suspects allegedly yelled racial slurs at the group, which quickly led to a physical altercation.
Hateful rhetoric and Islamophobia have wormed their way into areas of diversity and cities that boast large Muslim populations, which makes it far more difficult to anticipate when and where such hate crimes can occur.
An unidentified man who remains at large then stabbed one of the Muslim men. The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The other suspect involved in the fight has been identified by police as John Henry Matteson. Matteson, a 29-year-old White male, has been arrested “on suspicion of committing a hate crime” and is being held on bail. He is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
Both of these crimes do little to ease our minds, as they add to the alarming number of such hate-inspired incidents that have occurred in the past few months. While there is no clear correlation between the two stabbings, it’s frightening to think that Muslims can no longer feel safe no matter where they reside. Hateful rhetoric and Islamophobia have wormed their way into areas of diversity and cities that boast large Muslim populations, which makes it far more difficult to anticipate when and where such hate crimes can occur.