herald

Friday 30 September 2016

Community rallies around Afghan neighbours after attack by racists

Thirteen-year-old Abdul Ahmadzai (centre) with his uncles Naqeeb (18) and Fazal (20) Ahmadzai at their home in Rathfarnham
Thirteen-year-old Abdul Ahmadzai (centre) with his uncles Naqeeb (18) and Fazal (20) Ahmadzai at their home in Rathfarnham

A Dublin community has been left shocked and “upset” after an Afghan man and two teens were subjected to a racist assault in south Dublin.

Residents of Rathfarnham were horrified to hear the news of the incident, which saw two teenagers and a 20-year-old man beaten with a metal bar while cycling home.

Abdul Ahmadzai (13) and his two uncles, Naqeeb (18) and Fazal (20), had to be taken to hospital as a result of injuries they received in the savage attack.

They were returning home from a day in Marlay Park when four men jumped out of a blue Peugeot and attacked them.

Gardai are investigating the incident.

Ciara Lynch is a young  mother who lives close to the area where the attack took place and called the attack  “absolutely horrendous”.

“It was awful. I was very upset to hear about it,” she told the Herald.

“I couldn’t believe in this day and age that something like that would happen.

“We have young kids in the area and we’d hate to think that this is the Ireland that we’re living in,” she added.

She also expressed her disappointment that the family may decide to return to Afghanistan as a result of the assault.

“I’d say something like that would leave a lasting impression, but I hope they don’t leave,” she said.

“I’d say everyone is in support of them and would think these things shouldn’t happen.

“It’s sad to think that in 2016, this can happen,” she added.

“I don’t know what those people [the attackers] were thinking.”

She also stressed that “it doesn’t matter where you’re living, this shouldn’t happen and it’s horrendous to think that this has happened.”

Anne Galligan, manager of the local MicroPro Computers store, said many foreign nationals live and work in the area and was surprised by the attack.

“We’ve never come across this before. I’ve never heard of attacks,” she said. 

“We’ve been here a long time and we have different nationalities on our staff, and in the schools and other businesses here. There have never been any issues.”

However, she said she believed there was racism in Ireland generally.

“There is that attitude, but I’ve never heard anything like that in this immediate area.”

One woman, who did not wish to be named, also condemned the “awful” incident.

Afraid

“It’s terrible. I only saw the headlines this morning, and it stuck with me. I think it’s outrageous.”

Abdul told the Herald that he is still too afraid to go to school, the local park or to see his friends as he recovers from his injuries.

He added that he has not seen any of his friends since the incident, and has not left the house.

The family are considering returning home to Afghanistan, and said they fear for their lives after they were targeted.

However, they said they had not made any arrangements to leave Ireland yet.

Meanwhile, numerous TDs have lent their voices to support the family following the assault.

Anti Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy called the attack “a disgrace” that “should be opposed by all those who are opposed to racism”.

“This was an unprovoked attack on the men and boy who were out cycling,” he said.

He also called for a response from the community and those opposed to racism to “send a clear message” that these attacks will not be tolerated.

Attacked

Taking to Twitter, Fianna Fail TD for Limerick Niall Collins wrote: “Those who attacked three Afghan men in south Dublin have to be brought to justice.”

He labelled it “appalling and acceptable behaviour”.

A rally in solidarity with the three victims takes place tonight at 7pm at the entrance of Nutgrove Shopping Centre.

Members of the Anti Racism Network Ireland, Dialogue and Diversity, Waterford Against Racism, and Kilmore West Against Austerity will all be represented.

Republic of Ireland against Racism and Reproductive Rights against Oppression, Sexism and Austerity will also be in attendance.

Mayor of South Dublin Sarah Holland will also play a key role in the rally.

In a statement, she condemned the attack and encouraged people to attend the rally “both to show solidarity with the family, and to join with us in condemning this mindless racism”.

“I am utterly disgusted that this family, including a 13-year-old boy, have been attacked in our community,” she said.

“The father of this family has said he no longer feels safe here. This family fled Afghanistan because of fears for their lives and now they don’t feel safe here in the leafy suburbs of Rathfarnham.

“The people who carried out this attack are mindless thugs and representative of no one,” she added.

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