Hatun Tash, the woman slashed in the face at Speakers’ Corner on Sunday, claims the iconic location on the edge of Hyde Park has become the very opposite of a free debating space as the Christian preacher has found herself facing down the “Muslim mob”.
Tash, a 39-year-older convert from Islam having moved to the UK from Turkey eight years ago told the Times: “In my early days, Speakers’ Corner was a much calmer place. Now it is not and I am regularly attacked by a Muslim mob.
“We don’t live in Pakistan, we don’t live in Saudi Arabia. I am Christian and by default, I believe that Muhammad is a false prophet. I should be allowed to say that in the UK,” she added.
Tash was attacked just before 4 pm on Sunday afternoon. The shocking incident was caught on camera and quickly went viral on social media. The assailant is seen delivering a volley of blows. Tash is then stooped over holding her face as the thug spins around and flees. A police car then races after the violent criminal, sirens blaring, but failed to catch him. The blade was recovered shortly afterwards.
In later footage, Tash can be seen with blood dripping down one side of her face and onto her now-infamous Charlie Hebdo T-shirt that may have played a part in provoking the knife attack.
The Metropolitan Police Force are still hunting the attacker. The incident is not being treated as terrorism-related, however, the case is now being led by the force’s SO15 Counter Terrorism Command.
Sunday’s victim is highly critical of the police. Two weeks before the assault, Tash claims she opened legal proceedings against Scotland Yard concerning allegations of false arrest and imprisonment. Scotland Yard did not respond to the Times’ enquiries.
Tash blames the police for Speakers’ Corner’s descent into a sinister and confrontational environment. The Christian Preacher said that beforehand she “would answer Islamic objections to the Christian faith and ask questions about Islam, questions about child marriage and the place of women in Islam and whether those attitudes were acceptable in the modern UK.
“Police inaction has led to what happened to me yesterday… It is heartbreaking that we live in a society where police do not want to arrest a Muslim for fear of being called Islamophobic.”