A Muslim driver terrified passengers when he suddenly stopped his bus and blocked the exit, forcing everyone to remain in their seats as he prayed in Arabic. However, after reporting the incident to the bus transit, passengers were given a disturbing response.
While traveling on the No. 24 bus in north London, passengers were overtaken with fear and confusion when their devout Muslim bus driver abruptly pulled over and blocked the doors. Turning to his passengers, the unidentified driver then used his yellow safety jacket as a prayer mat, placing it in the center of the aisle before vocalizing in Arabic.
Trapped in their seats by the praying driver, passengers were forced to silently wait for several minutes, not knowing what the man’s next move would be. Finally, the driver finished up his worship session, collected his jacket, and continued the journey for which his passengers had paid.
Passenger Gayle Griffiths reported the incident to Transport for London, and she expected that serious action would be taken against the driver for delaying paid passengers and intimidating them. What she received was completely unexpected.
According to the Daily Mail, Transport for London (TfL) not only refused to reprimand the Muslim driver but merely issued a meager “apology” to passengers and promised to “remind” the driver that he should pray during rest periods. Additionally, the company almost seemed to chastise the complaining passengers, reminding them that their staff is made up of “diverse” individuals whose values should be respected.
A TfL spokesman said, “A route 24 bus was delayed following a decision by the driver to stop the bus to pray. The bus company, London General, has had a word with the driver as this is not something that should be happening. TfL apologises to passengers for any inconvenience this may have caused them. We understand that there is some flexibility in the Muslim faith as to the times of day that drivers can pray. TfL and the individual bus operating companies acknowledge and value the diversity of their staff.”
Griffiths and the other passengers were disturbed with the company’s response. She explained that the incident was not just inconvenient but deeply disturbing for the oblivious passengers on board.
“We had just picked up and let off people at a bus stop and moved off again when the driver stopped the bus very suddenly. He got out of his cab, leaving the engine running, and walked towards the middle exit door,” she said. “But then he took off his shoes and began praying. I was gobsmacked and quite bewildered.”
Griffiths then said what some passengers on the bus must have been thinking. She explained that a sudden fear swept over her when it occurred to her that she might be witnessing a terror attack, since targeting buses isn’t uncommon.
“He hadn’t addressed the passengers at all,” she said. “I didn’t say anything and nor did anyone else. I thought it would all be over in 30 seconds but it went on for over five minutes. It even went through my mind that this might be some sort of terrorist attack with the bus blown up because I had heard that suicide bombers prayed before attacks.”
Griffiths also pointed out that the driver left the engine running the entire time he was praying, leaving the bus vulnerable for a passenger to hijack it. He also blocked the exit, which was a violation of protocol, endangering passengers who would need to escape in the event of an emergency evacuation.
“Everyone was looking round in a mix of shock and amazement. It was truly bizarre, ludicrous and aggravating,” she said. “We live in a multi-cultural society but there is a time and a place for prayer and the middle of a journey with a busload of passengers is not it.”
The company once again assured that it values the diversity of its employees, revealing that it provides several prayer rooms and quiet rooms for those who wish to pray on the job. However, they still haven’t properly addressed the incident to ensure that it won’t happen again, leaving passengers concerned that they will be delayed or worse.