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The now-viral video shows a man reading anti-semitic bible passages to a man and presumably his son, who are both wearing skullcaps. Bystanders stepped in to defend the family.
After receiving permission from the family, Chris Atkins, a 43-year-old journalist, took and shared the video on Twitter, where it has amassed over 2 million views.
“Around noon I witnessed appalling anti Semitic abuse towards this Jewish Family on the northern line. Fair play to other passengers who stood up to him. If you recognise the guy please report to @metpoliceuk,” Atkins tweeted on Friday.
Around noon I witnessed appalling anti Semitic abuse towards this Jewish Family on the northern line. Fair play to other passengers who stood up to him. If you recognise the guy please report to @metpoliceuk pic.twitter.com/YxzwAnDqTJ— Chris Atkins (@scatatkins) November 22, 2019
The almost two-minute long video starts with the man reading Revelation 3:9 from the Book of Revelation.
“I’ve lived in London for 20 years and you’re used to people ranting on the Tube. It was only after a minute I realized, ‘hang on this is really, really anti-Semitic’,” Atkins said, per the Evening Standard.
The man tells the family they are part of “the synagogue of Satan” when reading the passages.
The father, who has one arm over his son, remains calm and even laughs–or pretends to–the incident off, a move he was later lauded for.
When a man intervenes, the anti-semitic man says, “Back off man. I’m not no Christian pastor. Back the fuck off from me bro.”
A Muslim woman in a hijab then confronts him.
“These people claim my heritage,” the man yells at her, pointing to the father and son. “Do you care about your people?” He also brings up 9/11 and continues arguing with her until the end of the video.
“The Muslim woman … really, really took him to task, very firmly and persistently,” Atkins said, per the Evening Standard.
Atkins said that he later swapped seats with the child in order to get the child away from the man.
“Then another guy came up and started talking to him who was very good, who basically said ‘what is it in the Bible?’ and ‘tell me where it shows that’ just to divert attention away from the family,” he said, per the Evening Standard.
People are expressing outrage over the incident and lauding the father and interveners.
“He saw an easy target in a Jewish father sitting with his kids on a metro train with an audience who can’t walk away,” Twitter user @Jew_Pakistani wrote.
He saw an easy target in a Jewish father sitting with his kids on a metro train with an audience who can't walk away.— Fishel Benkhald (@Jew_Pakistani) November 23, 2019
It wasn't the place nor the audience to debate on biblical scripture
All I saw in this video is a tall small-man desperate for an audiencehttps://t.co/2izNKUCkyE
He also tells the brave Muslim woman she shouldn’t be wearing trousers, illustrating yet again the correlation between extremism and misogyny. I hope he is arrested.— Shelagh Fogarty (@ShelaghFogarty) November 22, 2019
especially at a time when the media tries to portray both the religion of the victim and the woman as enemies.— Jenny Morgan (@mysweetmenu) November 22, 2019
Another called the father’s “calm, graceful dad skills” and the “two who stepped in to distract” the silver linings of the incident.
“A Muslim lady going to the defence of a Jewish father and son gives me renewed hope for the future of this wonderful country of ours. Let’s try and find out who she is so we can thank her for her wonderful courage and support,” Twitter user @warner_hb wrote.
That lady challenging him - the stones on her. She was cool as the other side of the pillow, considering how angry and abusive he obviously was.— Pete J (@Zakalwe1970) November 22, 2019
It's lovely and heartwarming and I hope she knows how grateful many of us are. Whoever she is, she's my hero of the day. ❤️— Iziar2406 (@iziar2406) November 22, 2019
A Muslim lady going to the defence of a Jewish father and son gives me renewed hope for the future of this wonderful country of ours. Let's try and find out who she is so we can thank her for her wonderful courage and support— MartinHBWarner (@warner_hb) November 22, 2019
It's so good to see. A decent human being defending other decent human beings from a not so decent human being! More please.— Ann the Gran 🎪👍 (@yorkshirefloss2) November 22, 2019
fair play to the muslim lady for sticking up for that Jewish family.— J Walton (@JWalton12267995) November 22, 2019
The Muslim protecting the Jew. Sometimes it's great to be British. ♥️— Trevor Sterrett🌹🌹🌹 (@BigSterrett) November 22, 2019
The U.K. has seen a rise in anti-semitism over the past three years, according to a report, with an average of over 100 anti-semitic incidents a month.
“We are aware of a video circulating on Twitter which shows passengers being harassed and being targeted with anti-Semitic abuse on a Northern Line train,” the British Transport Police said in a statement, per the Evening Standard. “Enquiries are being made in relation to this footage.”
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque