British police said they have arrested a man and a woman after a video on social media showed the woman attacking a teenage Muslim schoolgirl on a local bus in northern England.
The cellphone footage from Wednesday shows the 40-year-old woman hitting the 14-year-old Muslim schoolgirl on the floor repeatedly and a man shouting anti-Muslim slurs.
The assault on the young girl started on a single-decker service bus, bound for Ecclesfield, Sheffield, in South Yorkshire, and then continued outside the bus.
Police said they were called to the Nursery Tavern in Sheffield following “reports of racial abuse” and that “a man and a woman were asked to leave the premises.”
But the same man and woman, who appear in the video footage, were later involved in the assault of “a 14-year-old girl,” according to the statement.
The woman and a 44-year-old man have been arrested in connection with the incident, according to the South Yorkshire Police.
The girl’s school also made a statement on the incident.
“We are aware of an incident that has happened outside of school where it appears that some of our students have suffered abuse from members of the public,” said Silverdale School.
“We are supporting the students and their families in any way needed,” it said, adding, “Given that this is an ongoing police investigation, we won’t be commenting further.”
Anti-Muslim hatred has significantly risen in Europe in recent years. Far-right extremism and xenophobia have fueled anti-Muslim hatred in Western countries, where terror attacks by Daesh and al-Qaida are used as an excuse to legitimize those views.
Although enmity toward Muslims is not a new phenomenon, it intensified after 9/11. Since then, for almost two decades, Islam has been unjustly tarnished with labels that have negative connotations and portrayed as a religion of hate and violence with anti-Western sentiment and women's oppression. This trend of intolerance has triggered deadly attacks against Muslims and immigrants since then.
With growing racism emerging as a serious problem in almost all EU states, citizens of foreign origin are more vulnerable in some countries. Anti-Muslim hatred in the U.K. has shown a sharp rise since the 2017 terror attacks in London and Manchester.