‘Hero’ driver boots man from bus for bullying Muslim woman

Social media praise is pouring in for OC Transpo driver Alain Charette, who confronted a bus passenger for making Islamophobic comments to a Muslim woman.

By Lucy Scholey
Hamilton Spectator | May 31, 2016

An OC Transpo bus driver is being called a hero after standing up for a young Muslim woman who was bullied for wearing the niqab.

Hailey – who only wants her first name used for privacy reasons – said she had just boarded the bus to the Rideau Centre on May 12 when a fellow passenger started calling her a terrorist and freak for her traditional head and face covering.

“At one point, he yelled at me to assimilate,” said the 20-year-old University of Ottawa student.

About five minutes into the packed bus ride, other passengers started telling the man to get off the bus. Apparently he had been making rude comments to other people during that trip.

According to Hailey, OC Transpo driver Alain Charette yelled at the man to get off the bus or else he would get the police involved.

“And the guy was like, ‘But look at her, sir, I’m afraid of her.’ And the bus driver was like, ‘You shouldn’t be afraid of her, you should be afraid of me,'” Hailey recalled.

Hailey said the incident rattled her – but mostly because of Charette’s kindness.

. . .

Amira Elghawaby, communications director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said Charette is a hero.

“It isn’t often that people necessarily know what to say or how to intervene if they do see somebody targeted in this way,” she said. “The actions of the bus driver are to be highly commended.”

She said she has been a victim of anti-Muslim bullying herself multiple times in the last 10 years. In one incident, a group of young men swerved their truck toward her while she was in a parking lot while they shouted profanities at her. She said Muslim women are often the targets of Islamophobic acts….

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