Socialist Worker

‘Protest against racism’—victim of vicious attack in Edinburgh speaks out

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2689

An Asian man who was viciously beaten up in Edinburgh has called on people to “please come and protest” against racism.

A group of 20 people armed with crowbars and a knife assaulted and hurled racist abuse at shop managers Nadeem Akbar and Mudassar Akbar on Thursday of last week.

Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) Edinburgh called a protest outside Craigmillar Library for this ­Thursday.

Nadeem told Socialist Worker that “we were lucky” to make it out from the assault.

“We’ve got a shop on Hay Avenue,” he said. “We park our cars behind the shop. But the car park is a blind spot. As soon as we got to the car park they started abusing us, calling us ‘Pakis’ and asking, ‘Why are you here?’.”

As the racists hit Nadeem, they repeatedly punched Mudassar in the face and nose. “I think three of them had ­crowbars and one a knife,” he said. “They hit me on the side of my head, across my forehead in fact.

“They showed the knife and tried to burst the tyres.”

They abused us, calling us ‘Pakis’ and asking, ‘Why are you here?’ 

Nadeem Akbar, Edinburgh 

The assault only stopped after the intervention of one of Nadeem and Mudassar’s customers.

Nadeem said, “One of my customers started shouting and then the gang moved on.

“Two of my colleagues were inside serving and they called 999 afterwards.”

Nadeem explained that the brothers had previously suffered abuse at the hands of racists.

“This hassle was going on with lads for a couple of months,” he said. “It was bullying, racism and asking, ‘Why are you here’.

“They would just come to the shop and start throwing things.”

Attempted 

He added that in the “last couple of months the abuse was worse” with the gang. Nadeem said that a gang had attempted to assault him before.

“They tried one time about three to four weeks ago,” he said.

“They had a wooden stick that time, but I just went back into the shop.”

Years of scapegoating against Muslims, migrants and refugees pushed by politicians and the press have normalised and legitimised racist ideas in wider society. A statement from SUTR Scotland said, “Given the language and racist slurs used, there is little doubt that this assault was racially motivated.

“This is not the first violent attack recently to be accompanied by racist abuse from the perpetrators.

“In May 2018 a Syrian refugee, Shabaz Ali, sustained life threatening injuries in a racially aggravated attempted murder in Edinburgh.

“The attacker reportedly said, ‘Go back to your country’.”

Anti-racists need to show solidarity swiftly in the wake of violent attacks and fight against the division pushed by politicians.

The SUTR Scotland statement added, “Millions of people across Scotland are opposed to racism and we have a proud record of combatting it.

“We must organise in our communities, our workplaces and on campus to isolate and challenge racism wherever it rears its ugly head.”

SUTR has called national demonstrations in Glasgow and London on Saturday 21 March. They are an opportunity to build a bigger movement against racism.

They will bring together people from across the Labour Party, Scottish National Party (SNP), Greens, trade unionists, revolutionary socialists, anti-racists, Muslim and refugee and migrant organisations and others.

They must be a focus for the coming assaults from an emboldened Tory government.

Join the protest against the racist attack on Nadeem and Mudassar organised by Scotland Stand Up To Racism

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