Meet the brave Muslim taxi driver who inspired Rachel Riley’s antisemitism fight

Meet the brave Muslim taxi driver who inspired Rachel Riley’s antisemitism fight

VIDEO: Jassem Tamim tells Jewish News he's received 'horrible' online abuse since speaking out against antisemitism.

Jassem Tamim
Jassem Tamim

The Muslim taxi driver who inspired Rachel Riley to campaign against antisemitism has revealed that he has experienced abuse for speaking out.  

Jassem Tamim, 44, from Morocco, said: “People didn’t expect a Muslim to start talking about antisemitism.

“They started asking questions to find out if I am a true Muslim.

“They started accusing me of being a hypocrite, saying that I will burn in Hell with the Jews. Horrible things, you know.”

Mr Tamim, who studies at the Islamic College in Neasden, phoned LBC’s Maajid Nawaz in September to criticise UKIP’s proposition to create Muslim-only prisons. 

While on-air, he told Nawaz: “I am studying an antisemitism course online and this is how the Nazis started acting with Jewish people.”

The interview inspired Rachel Riley to study antisemitism and join the fight against antisemitism.

Last week, Riley thanked Tamim on social media for inspiring her to study and campaign against antisemitism.

The Countdown star urged her followers to follow the taxi driver, saying: “His timeline is full of wisdom and compassion, he should have way more than his 98 followers.”

Since Riley’s tweet, Mr Tamin’s number of followers has risen to 814 by the time of writing.

Mr Tamim told Jewish News: “She has my respect because she is a really sincere person.

“She’s successful and she’s not someone who’s an attention-seeker. She’s not insecure in her life. All the reasons that can push to talk just for the sake of talking.

“She’s right person for me to advocate this cause, and I also noticed that she’s very open-minded and very accepting. She’s very British in her attitude.”

Mr Tamim said witnessing the fear of antisemitism in the Jewish community in his day job motivated him to take up a course on antisemitism. 

Describing a ride with an Israeli family he picked up in South London, he said he noticed one of the passengers seemed in distress after he suggested taking them to a Kosher restaurant.

He added: “That really shocked me. I felt uncomfortable. I wish I could just disappear. ”

Describing another incident, he said: “While I was driving in the city, I noticed a gentleman taking off his kippah to cross the road.

“Then he put it back on straight away afterwards. It made me feel sick”.

Mr Tamim urged the Muslim community to join the fight against antisemitism, adding: “The Jewish people have already shown support every time we needed them.”

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