Muslim man says he was thrown off a National Express coach for ‘looking shifty’ open up about his ordeal.
Ibrahim Mohamed Ismail claims he was asked to leave the bus that was due to travel from Bristol to London moments after he boarded it. The 42-year-old, who is studying Chinese at the Open University, said the incident has left him feeling ‘humiliated’ and accused the company of discrimination.
Mr Ismail said: ‘I believe I was asked to leave because of the way I was dressed, and the fact I’ve got a beard. ‘They asked me to leave because I was a Muslim. Is that not discrimination? ‘I was angry. I feel I was discriminated against and treated differently to everyone else because of my religion.’
Mr Ismail a practising Muslim Originally from Somalia, fled his worn torn country 15 years ago and has been living in the UK as a British citizen ever since. He believes the other passengers became suspicious when they saw that he was carrying three bags of luggage.
‘Clearly the driver didn’t have an issue with my luggage when I got on the coach, because we had a conversation about it and he allowed me on despite having the bags that I had,’ he said.
Following the incident the reaction from other people on the bus was mixed, with some of them thanking the woman who first said Mr Ismail made her feel ‘uncomfortable’, while others accused the coach company of Islamophobia.
Mr Ismail claims that his £25 ticket was not refunded, and that he was forced to pay for a £56 train ticket to make his journey instead.
A spokesman for National Express said: ‘We categorically deny an incident in which a passenger was asked to leave one of our coaches was in any way discriminatory. ‘The gentleman concerned boarded with excess luggage which became an issue for a number of our other customers. ‘He refused to put the excess luggage in the hold when requested, was abusive towards our staff and walked out of the station.‘Our staff, who often have to make difficult decisions at short notice, remained professional throughout and are extremely upset at these serious allegations which are both unfounded and untrue.’