According to the local media, a First Bus driver in Bristol, England has demanded that a 20-year-old Muslim passenger removed her niqab, a full-face veil that leaves an open spot only for the eyes.
The woman, who was carrying a newborn baby during the ride, told The Bristol Post that the driver called her "scary and dangerous," and was insinuating that she was going to "bomb the bus."
In a video recorded by a passenger during the incident, the man is heard calling face-covering veils "not good." In a heated conversation with the passengers, he described wearing a headdress in public as a matter of safety rather than a matter of choice.
Later on, he was reported for racism to the police; First Bus apologized to the Muslim lady and added that the driver had been disciplined.
The controversial incident has ignited a massive debate on social media. Many people hailed the bus driver's actions, arguing that he had every right to refuse service for safety reasons.
Well done the bus driver for speaking up. I would have felt uncomfortable (as a fellow passenger) if someone wore a burka. Would I be allowed to board the bus wearing my motorbike helmet? Would I be able to sit for the duration of the journey wearing a balaclava? @FirstBSA— 🏴 Paul Allen 🇬🇧 (@PaulAllen2018) 11 августа 2018 г.
@FirstBusBristo1 What'is sad: you defend Security Threats. People are genuinely scared of fully covered people who could wish to blow up others in public. Terrorism by Islam is very real. The bus driver had every right to refuse carriage. First Bus needs training on reality— Kenneth Jolivet (@Ken_Jolivet) 11 августа 2018 г.
The bus driver makes an important point.— Neicha (@Neichadre) 11 августа 2018 г.
He was looking after his passengers safety- we need to ban the niqab it’s a safety concern.Give the driver a commendation.— John (@johnebag69) 11 августа 2018 г.
Why has he been disciplined. He does have a good point. 🤔— Pabllo1199 (@Pabllo1199) 10 августа 2018 г.
My hero, honey!— Moderna Cica BrExit* (@ModernaPevacica) 10 августа 2018 г.
Others, however, accused the man of bigotry and racism.
This bus driver is hideous — I was on his last week and he is permanently uptight. You need some help with recruitment @FirstBusnews— Liz Mytton (@lizmytton) 11 августа 2018 г.
Boris has given him the opportunity to display his hatred towards the woman. Thats what Boris' statement has released, it gives credence to people like this, racists and bigots. He knows this too, the Tory party is full of racists and anti Islam voters.— John Divney (@JohnDivney) 11 августа 2018 г.
Horrible bully, supposed to be a professional driver, awful, poor lady.— Simon Greasley (@SimonGreasley) 11 августа 2018 г.
The veil issue drew public attention in Britain this week, when Boris Johnson, a high-profile Conservative Party member and the former foreign secretary, compared Muslim women wearing niqabs to "letter boxes" and "bank robbers."
Full veils have been a hot-button issue in the European Union, too. Restrictions on them in public areas are in place in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Austria, the German state of Bavaria and in parts of Switzerland. Unlike these countries, the UK hasn't enacted a similar law.
The European countries began introducing the bans following an influx of asylum seekers from the Middle East and elsewhere, which escalated in 2015, citing security and integration concerns.