Muslim woman in racial abuse incident is ‘local’

Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc
Craigavon Area Hospital. INLM02-110gc

A woman racially abused outside Craigavon Area hospital yesterday (Thursday) is a local woman who converted to Islam 10 years ago.

MLA Doug Beattie, who highlighted the incident, said the mother, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, had the abuse hurled at her by another woman.

And he said this was not the first time the woman, who is white, had received such abuse, with another verbal attack taking place outside Portadown Health Centre.

He said, “The person said this woman’s appearance offended her and accused her of medical tourism.

“She also told her she didn’t belong here and that this is a Christian country.”

The woman, who was wearing a headscarf in line with her religious beliefs, was alone at the time but on other occasions her children have been with her.

Mr Beattie added, “Maybe people’s feelings are heightened after what happened in Manchester and London but this is outrageous. This young woman is currently battling cancer so she is going through enough trauma and distress without neanderthals throwing abuse at her.

“This type of behaviour is intolerable... Our health service would simply not be able to operate without the contribution of foreign doctors and nurses and I would like to reassure them that they are welcome and that they are greatly appreciated for what they do.

“The United Kingdom is a Christian country and as such we have Christian values of benevolence, compassion and tolerance. Those who verbally and racially abused this woman have no comprehension of these Christian values.

“This in not indicative of the majority of people in Portadown and the wider Craigavon area.”

A spokesperson for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said it was aware of a recent incident involving alleged racial abuse outside Craigavon Area Hospital.

“Our security staff carried out a preliminary investigation immediately after the incident,” he said.

“We condemn any form of abuse of patients, staff or visitors and urge anyone with information about this incident to report it to the police.”