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British-Pakistani taxi driver who faced racist attack in London pleased with global support

"I told him again and again that I will upload the video on Facebook and the world would see your face but he told me that he didn't care if his racist abuse was known to the world," Abid Mustafa said. The News/via Author

LONDON: British-Pakistani taxi driver Abid Mustafa who suffered racist abuse by one of his passengers has thanked the global community for supporting him and appreciating his calm response.

Video of the racist attack on Twitter has so far been viewed over a million times. It shows the white male passenger saying: "This is England, we’ll blow you out the [explective] water.. you think you’re something special — Pakistan? No wonder the Indians are bombing you".

The 52-year-old passenger who has now been arrested had hurled Islamophobic and racist abuses at Abid Mustafa who calmly handled the situation and warned him that he would upload the video on social media.

It was clear from the attack video that the passenger correctly recognised Abid Mustafa as a Pakistani and Muslim and then launched the verbal assault.

Speaking to The News, Mustafa described the incident in totality. "I requested the passenger to sit in the back seat due to social distancing but the passenger told me that he would not do so since I did not have a protective screen," he said.

He highlighted how having a protective screen was not required as per the guidelines in the UK. He allowed the passenger to sit on the front seat but was verbally attacked over his nationality and religion.

In the midst of the ride, he explained, he had even stopped his taxi and offered to order another cab for the passenger but the latter continued with his abusive tirade. Even after he was informed of the camera facing him, he did not stop.

"I told him again and again that I will upload the video on Facebook and the world would see your face but he told me that he didn't care if his racist abuse was known to the world," the driver said.

"Not every passenger is wrong and not every driver is perfect. Anyone can make a mistake. I advise all councils in the UK to make a camera compulsory for drivers."

Mustafa requested the councils to ensure cameras in taxis for the protection of drivers and passengers alike. "I thank all the UK journalists especially Jemima Khan who praised me in my Urdu language.

"It's a matter of pride for me that I was identified as a Pakistani. I am lucky that I got the chance to represent my community positively."

Had he aggressively replied to the passenger, Mustafa noted, his license might have been cancelled and people may have thought that he was the instigator.

"I would have to go to court to prove my evidence. Patience bears fruit and it is because of this patience, God almighty has helped me. The whole world has praised my patience, I am extremely grateful for the support I have received."

Mustafa pledged to serve his passengers optimally and to play his role in bridging the gap between different ethnicities in the UK. He expressed his gratitude to the people of all nationalities and religions who raised a voice against the racist abuse he faced.

"My message to other taxi drivers is that they should conduct their jobs according to our professional standards. God willing, we will be successful if we remain calm amid chaos."

Earlier, the ex-wife of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Jemima Goldsmith, had also commended the driver for keeping calm during the incident.

"Shabash [kudos] & respect to this Pakistani-British cab driver keeping his cool in the face of unspeakable racist abuse from a grotesque thug," she had written.