London: A couple went on trial in Britain
today accused of verbally abusing a Muslim woman for wearing
the hijab while she was staying at their hotel.
Ericka Tazi says she was subjected to an hour-long tirade
by Benjamin and Sharon Vogelenzang, who are Christians, after
emerging from her room on the morning of March 20 wearing the
Islamic head-covering and gown.
Tazi, who converted to Islam 18 months ago, was allegedly
asked by Benjamin Vogelenzang if she was a terrorist and was
told that her dress "represented oppression and bondage" by
"It was my outfit that had triggered him," Tazi told the
court, saying the hotelier had resembled "a whirling dervish".
"He asked me if I was a murderer, if I was a terrorist.
I'm a 60-year-old disabled woman, I couldn't understand where
it was coming from, it was shocking to me."
Benjamin Vogelenzang, 53, also called the Prophet
Mohammed a "warlord" and compared him to World War II German
dictator Adolf Hitler, prosecutor Anya Horwood claimed.
Tazi denied she had had robust arguments about religion
with other guests during her stay at the hotel under
questioning by defence lawyer Hugh Tomlinson.
First Published: Wednesday, December 09, 2009, 00:31