herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Family left terrified after iron bar attack by brutal racist gang

Afghan nationals Fazal, Abdul and Naqib Ahmadzai in their Rathfarnham home
Afghan nationals Fazal, Abdul and Naqib Ahmadzai in their Rathfarnham home
Councillor Nic Cormaic

An Afghan family who were assaulted in a vile racist attack want to leave Ireland and "move home" amid fears of being killed by their attackers.

Two teenagers and a 20-year-old man were attacked with a metal bar on Thursday night as they were cycling home from Marlay Park.

Gardai are investigating the incident, which took place near Nutgrove Shopping Centre, Rathfarnham after four men get out of a blue Peugeot and assaulted the group.

Abdul Ahmadzai (13) and his two uncles Naqib (18) and Fazal (20) were all hospitalised following the attack.

The two brothers, who have only been living in Ireland for four months and don't speak English, were kept at St James's Hospital for two nights, with Naqib suffering a broken cheekbone. He is due to see a specialist today to decide whether surgery is needed.

Abdul and Fazal have swelling and bruising to their cheekbones and eyesockets and a number of bruises around their heads.

Abdul told the Herald that the car pulled up in front of them at 8.20pm, blocking them in, and one of the attackers got out and hit him in the face with a black metal bar.

Abdul, who has been living in Ireland for four years, said he was afraid to leave his home in Rathfarnham.

He said he was too scared to go to the local shop, nearby park or his secondary school ever again. Abdul is a first-year student at De La Salle Secondary School.

"They got out of the car and straight away they punched us in the face and in the back of the head for no reason," he said.

"They said go back to your own country and used the F word a lot and were talking about us being Muslim.

"They said this was only a warning and that next time they will kill us," Abdul said.

Shaken

"I can't go out, I don't want to go anywhere, I just want to stay home. I'm still afraid because they told me they know where I live and that they will kill me next time.

"I was going to this park every day because the weather was so good and I was playing with my uncles and my family - but nothing like this happened before," he added.

The shaken teenager said he had been unable to sleep properly since the attack and he suffers nightmares.

"I can't sleep after it - it's been like this last night and the night before that," he said.

"Last night I was dreaming that they came into my house and tried to kill my family and when I woke up I couldn't sleep again," he said.

The Ahmadzai family's five children will not be sent to school for the rest of the term. They said they will only do so if they manage to move to a different part of Dublin.

A keen cricketer, Abdul said that he had harboured ambitions to represent Ireland in the sport in future. However, he is unsure whether this will ever be possible, considering the family's fears that they may have to move back to Afghanistan in order to be safe.

A family member said he sees no other option but to do so at the moment.

"If the warning is this, they want to hurt us and to beat us, so what will they do next? We are too scared," he said.

Kill

"We don't have any hope and maybe we will go back to our own country, because over there if someone wants to kill someone, there is a reason," he added.

It is understood that a number of onlookers took photographs and videos of the incident, some which are believed to have been sent to gardai to help their investigation.

None of the culprits has been arrested yet.

A vigil in solidarity with the victims of the assault is set to take place outside the Nutgrove Shopping Centre tomorrow at 7pm, close to where the assault took place.

Local Sinn Fein Councillor Sorcha Nic Cormaic said: "Obviously, it's a horrific assault and my heart goes out to them.

"We need to come out in force at the vigil - they're so frightened."

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