ISLAMIC convert Yvonne Rogers is appealing to society to ‘see beyond her hijab’ after suffering verbal and physical attacks.
Ms Rogers, of Portchester, converted to Islam in 1998 as a single woman and she wears a hijab veil that covers her head and neck.
The 64-year-old says she has suffered abuse as a result of becoming a Muslim, which has worsened this year with the media giving coverage to Islamic terrorists fighting for Isil in Syria.
Ms Rogers, a carer, said: ‘The constant demonisation of Muslims in the media is having devastating effects on converts such as myself who merely want to go about our daily business without the malevolence and malice that I have experienced.
‘Much of the hatred levelled against me is because of negative media coverage and the inability of people to think outside the box.’
After a brutal attack in November 2010, when was beaten up in Palmerston Road, Southsea, Ms Rogers had to give up work as a taxi driver.
She suffers from anxiety and panic attacks as a result.
Ms Rogers said: ‘Many times I was subjected to abuse while working as a taxi driver.
‘From having my headscarf and hair yanked back while being subjected to foul abuse from passengers sitting behind me in my former saloon car.
‘The abuse was horrendous. And then there was the attack from which I am lucky to be alive.’
Ms Rogers said she has also experienced incidents where people in shops have refused to serve her, receptionists have ignored her and members of the public have made obscene gestures at her in the street. She has reported the incidents to the police and to the council but said she was unhappy about the way the authorites dealt with them.
Ms Rogers said: ‘I see myself as a survivor, though, and not a victim. I wish to make that clear and if people want to set me up as a target, they can expect legal action.
‘The abuse I have suffered is absolutely horrendous, I please ask that people look at the person behind this hijab.
‘I am not a terrorist, I am not a bomber but I am getting called “uber bomber” and having obscene gestures made at me in the street.
‘It is totally unacceptable. I am just a friendly, caring, compassionate and merciful person.’