You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
A woman who stepped in to stop skinheads tearing the hijabs off three Muslim women in Dunedin says she is disappointed other bystanders failed to intervene in the racist attack.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the woman said she was in Albion Pl in the central city last week when she saw two male skinheads and their female accomplice approach three Muslim women waiting in the lane.
The group attacked the women, attempting unsuccessfully to tear off their hijabs while subjecting them to a torrent of racist abuse.
''Two skinheads and a girl came up trying to rip their [veils] off their heads, saying: 'Go back to your own ... [expletive] country!'.''
A group of people stood watching the attack but did not step in, so the woman said she decided to intervene, telling them forcefully to leave the Muslim women alone.
The female friend of the skinheads subjected her to a torrent of abuse, but the group stopped their attack and walked off.
''They went off up Albion Pl, saying: ''Oi! Oi! Oi!'.''
She was disappointed the onlookers had not also intervened during the violent incident.
''When I was standing there watching people ... you could tell that people were really wanting to do something, but they were so intimidated.
''I was just disappointed because people could have chosen to do something.''
The woman said the skinheads were under 30, and resembled those who were more common in Dunedin in the 1980s, with completely shaved heads, Doc Marten boots and black jeans. They were frequently seen around town, she said.
A police spokesman said they had received no reports regarding the incident.
Otago Muslim Association chairman Steve Johnston had not heard of the attack before being contacted by the Otago Daily Times.
In his view, Dunedin residents were generally respectful and welcoming to the city's Islamic community, including many students.
Every few years there would be isolated incidents such as eggs being thrown at the mosque, sometimes in response to events overseas.