Community group condemns “Islamophobic” Kings Heath attack after Muslim man hospitalised by violent thugs
An anti-racist community group has condemned the attack against an elderly Muslim man who was savagely attacked by thugs as he walked home from a mosque in Kings Heath yesterday.
Local residents and councillors have expressed shock at what has been described as a “racist” and “Islamophobic” attack by campaigners against hate crime.
Police have launched an investigation after a pensioner was assaulted by three men on his way home from a mosque in the Kings Heath suburb of Birmingham.
The victim, aged 73, was walking along York Road after Ramadan evening prayers, when three men got out of a black vehicle which was parked on the street.
One of the men ran up to the victim and kicked him in the back, causing him to fall and hit his head on a display board. The men then fled. The victim was taken to hospital with a broken hand and cuts to his face after the attack, which happened at around 11pm yesterday (29 March).
Video of the incident circulating online appears to show two men approach the elderly man from behind before jump kicking him in the back. One of the thugs is seen running up to the victim – who is walking with his back turned to the attackers – with what appears to be a motorbike helmet in his hand.
Both men are heard whooping before the vicious attack as they attempt to illicit a response from the victim. In the CCTV video’s audio, they can be heard shouting what appears to be the phrase “Oi, yo r*****d!”, a racist slur often directed at Muslims and Sikhs – before the violent attack, which causes the victim to crash land into sandwich boards outside Fletchers Bar & Eatery.
Another video shows the victim with blood streaming down his face as members of the public attempt to assist him. The incident is the second incident involving an attack on a Muslim individual in the last ten days. Anti-racism activists have described the assault as “Islamophobic”.
“On March 29, a Muslim man was violently assaulted and verbally abused by three men in a racist and Islamophobic attack in Kings Heath,” said a spokesperson for Stand Up To Racism Birmingham.
“The victim was walking home from a local mosque and needed hospital treatment after the attack. Birmingham Stand Up To Racism condemns this appalling attack. Muslim people have right to worship and walk the streets without fear.
“We send a message of support and solidarity to the victim and to members of the mosque. In a climate where Tory rhetoric inflames racism and the far right is growing, we stand for unity and cannot let the racists divide us.”
The organisation will be holding a stall in York Street to show solidarity against the attack at 11am this Saturday.
Although this is the second attack against a Muslim man in Birmingham during Ramadan, West Midlands Police are adamant the incident is not linked to events in Shenstone Road, Edgbaston, on March 20, where a Muslim man was set alight while returning from a nearby mosque.
Birmingham City Council Leader Ian Ward and ward councillors Cllr Lisa Trickett and Cllr David Barker urged the public to avoid speculation surrounding the incident.
“This was an attack on an elderly gentleman walking home from his local mosque and our thoughts are with the victim and his family at this time,” they said in a joint statement.
“Ward councillors and the Community Safety team are speaking to the family and West Midlands Police and will continue to offer support.
“Council officers and local councillors have also been engaging with community groups and local mosques to offer support to the wider community.
“We would urge everyone to work with the police and to avoid any speculation at this stage – and would like to thank the local community for their willingness to share information on this incident.”
King’s Heath Mosque, in nearby Station Road, confirmed it had enlisted volunteers to walk unaccompanied worshippers home in light of the attack.
Meanwhile, the city’s Green Lane Mosque said it was “shocked by the attack on an elderly member of the community”.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our elderly brother and his family,” said the management committee, confirming police had been in touch with mosque leaders “to allay any fears and to offer support, particularly with continuing evening prayers over Ramadan”.
Sgt Chris Gallon, of Moseley and Kings Heath police, said: “This was an appalling attack on a member of the public who was heading home.
“We’ll be taking a full statement from the victim, who remains in hospital today, and we’ve already got officers in the area this morning recovering CCTV and carrying out house-to-house enquiries we are working hard to identify the attackers and the car that they were in.
“We’ll also have extra officers in the area for reassurance, and it’s important that anyone with concerns comes to speak to us.
“At this stage the motive for the attack is not clear, but there is nothing to suggest any connection at all to the recent attack on a man who was walking home from a mosque in Edgbaston.”
The attackers are described as two white men and one black man, all aged between 18 and 30. All were wearing tracksuits.
Anyone with information has been asked to get in touch via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk, quoting log 5182 of 29 March.