Mother who helped start petition to ban racists from football says her son, 7, feels it ‘isn’t safe’ to go to practice after the horrendous abuse hurled at black players following the Euros final
- Shaista Aziz, Huda Jawad and Amna Abdullatif, started anti-racism petition
- Petition to ban racists from football games started under name the Three Hijabis
- Mother-of-two Huda lives near Wembley but was too intimidated to visit stadium
- Says racism hurled at black players has made her kids feel football is not safe
A mother-of-two who helped start an anti-racism petition says her sons feel football ‘isn’t safe’ for them after the horrendous abuse hurled at black players following the Euros final.
The petition, entitled ‘Ban racists for life from all football matches in England’, was set up by anti-racism campaigner Shaista Aziz and friends, Huda Jawad and Amna Abdullatif, under the name of the Three Hijabis.
Huda, from north-west London, says that until recently, she was too ‘intimidated’ to watch a football match in public, despite living a ‘stone’s throw away’ from Wembley stadium.
Appearing on Lorraine today, she told how she was left ‘heartbroken’ after her seven-year-old son was forced to learn about the abuse faced by three black England players after they missed penalties in a shootout against Italy in Sunday’s match.
Huda Jawad, from north-west London, says her sons football ‘isn’t safe’ for them after the horrendous abuse hurled at black players following the Euros final
She recalled: ‘As I was picking up my son from school, he’s in year three, he said “Mummy, we didn’t have a nice day today because we were talking what the players have been experiencing, the racism they had levelled at him and it makes me feel sad and it’s not safe to go to football”.
‘That really broke my heart, football is a reflection of our society. We live a stones throw away from the stadium, they’ve never been in, they don’t know what it looks like, they feel intimidated, as I did up until I went with Shaista.
‘That it’s something that is not for me, because i’m not welcome and that’s really sad because the beautiful game is something that belongs to all of us.
‘The England squad has really shown us what it’s like to be an inclusive team that belongs to everybody, that we’re all equal, that we all matter and we can all make a difference. This is for all of us to do something about.’
A petition, entitled ‘Ban racists for life from all football matches in England’, was set up by anti-racism campaigner Shaista Aziz and friends, Huda and Amna Abdullatif, under the name of the Three Hijabis
The trio went viral earlier this month after Shaista, from Oxford, shared a tweet of the friends watching England play Ukraine together, followed by a thread on the importance of an anti-racist and inclusive England team.
Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho were targeted after the Three Lions suffered a heartbreaking defeat at Wembley and Shaista says that the trio predicted the backlash.
‘The tragedy is after the final, the three hijabis were watching the match together a stone’s throw away from Wembley and we said, “We know what is going to happen now, these young black players, these heroes, are going to be racially abused”,’ she recalled.
She was quickly contacted by her cousin, who said neighbours had begun ‘turning on our young black players’ and were shouting racist abuse including the N-word.
The trio went viral earlier this month after Shaista, from Oxford, (left) shared a tweet of the friends watching England play Ukraine together, followed by a thread on the importance of an anti-racist and inclusive England team
Amna, from the north west, (right) has two girls of 18 and 16 and says that her daughters have loved seeing an inclusive England squad
Shaista went on: ‘Since we have put this petition up lots of people have contacted us many people of colour have shared similar stories.
‘This is not just about football, racism is sadly part of society, racism is part of the DNA of this country and society and football is a reflection of society and we need to dig deep and do something about this.’
Amna, from the north west, has two girls of 18 and 16 and says that her daughters have loved seeing an inclusive England squad.
‘My children love football they have been following the England team, they adore the England team and everything they represent’, she said.
Bukayo Saka is consoled by England team-mates following his costly penalty miss which led to racist abuse of the Arsenal star following England’s defeat
Marcus Rashford (left) and Jadon Sancho also missed spot-kicks for England in the shootout on Sunday
‘For young women living in the north of England, it has meant so much to see this inclusive diverse team we have across this tournament.’
The petition calling on the government and football authorities to go further and introduce automatic lifetime bans for people who racially abuse players has garnered thousands of signatures – but Amna says ‘action’ has to be taken.
She said: ‘I woke up on Monday morning and Shaista had already had a text ready with this petition ready and I thought, let’s go for it, let’s see what we can achieve and what we can change, because sitting idly is not going to help the situation.
‘All of us have to act and this is what we’re asking with this petition, we have to have action. We’ve had lots of words lots of condemnation, which is great, but without action you do not see change and these players deserve much more than empty words from all of us.’
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