Two held as hate crime victims attacked
Two people have been arrested after two Pakistani men, whose house was targeted in a hate crime, were assaulted at their north Belfast home on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday, 01 June 2014
A glass bottle was thrown through the living room window of the Parkmount Street property, off North Queen Street, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
No-one was injured in the incident, but the occupants - both from Pakistan - were later assaulted in a separate incident.
Police say a 57-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman have been arrested by detectives investigating the racially motivated hate crime.
Prior to his assault, Muhammad Asif Khattak told UTV that his family and friends warned him not to move to Northern Ireland because foreigners "are not accepted".
The 24-year-old discovered the damage at his home at 2.50am when he got up to fetch a glass of water.
A graduate of tourism and hospitality, Muhammad said that the people behind recent racist attacks do not want the area to prosper. He lived in London before moving to Belfast in December to work.
It’s vital that political leaders right across the community stand up against those involved in hate crime, whether those crimes are sectarian or racist in character.
Gerry Kelly, Sinn Féin
Muhammad told UTV: "I think this is very unfortunate - all people are not the same - but there are some black sheep in society who are targeting the foreigners, who are targeting the investment that's going to happen in Northern Ireland."
"Of course, we cannot stay in such a stressful situation. Our families, they are very concerned. Our friends are very concerned - they said just come back to London, you are not accepted there."
To those responsible, Muhammad said: "You have to accept us - we are the people who are contributing to society. If you look to New York, if you look to California, if you look to London - every second person is an ethnic minority group."
At around 3.15pm, Muhammad was subjected to racist taunts by a group of people outside the property.
It is understood that he was then approached by a man, who assaulted him.
There is no justification for any attack on an individual or their home whatever the religion, lifestyle, or ethnicity of the person concerned.
Nigel Dodds, DUP
A police statement said that Muhammad managed to make his way inside his house, but two men then forced their way into the property, attacking him a second time.
He was taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment to an injury to his foot and minor cuts and bruises.
His housemate, aged 38, was also assaulted inside the property.
Investigating officers want to hear from anyone who witnessed the assaults - or the overnight incident of criminal damage. They can be contacted on the non-emergency number 101.
The DUP and Sinn Féin have both condemned the attacks as "cowardly".