UK Muslim victim says acid attack was Islamophobic

1st Jul 2017
UK Muslim victim says acid attack was Islamophobic

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

 

LONDON (AA): A Muslim man who recently suffered “life-changing injuries” when he was sprayed in the face with acid in East London has described the incident as a hate crime.

Speaking in an emotional interview with broadcaster Channel 4, Jameel Mukhtar said: “I believe it was something to do with Islamophobia or maybe he’s got it in for Muslims because of what’s been going on lately.”

Mukhtar, 37, was in a car with his cousin Resham Khan who was celebrating her 21st birthday when they were sprayed a corrosive substance.

Police have released the image of 24-year-old John Tomlin in connection with the attack and appealed for information about his whereabouts. A police statement warned the public not to approach Tomlin.

“Both victims received life-changing injuries,” according to police. Horrific pictures of the injuries received by Resham Khan have been shared on social media.

The police have now acknowledged that the acid attack was a hate crime.

“We are treating this incident very seriously and, following new information that has come to light, it is now being treated as a hate crime,” said Acting Detective Superintendent Neil Matthews of the Metropolitan Police.

More and more people have been taking to social media to share emergency medical procedures in case of an acid attack.

Islamophobic incidents in the U.K. have seen a spike since the deadly terror attacks in Manchester and London Bridge, according to security officials.

– ‘I will always be scarred’

In the harrowing Channel 4 interview, Mukhtar recalled “screaming like a baby” when he was hit by the acid.

“I am never going to be the same again, I will always be scarred… I had been on a life support machine for two days… I am emotionally wrecked,” he added.

Mukhtar told Channel 4 the reaction to the incident had not been enough.

“If this was by an Asian guy like myself, going up to an English couple in a car and acid attacking them, I know for a fact that the whole country knows; it’d be straight away classed as a terrorism attack,” he said.

Various social media posts have suggested that a Bengali man was also injured on Thursday in a separate acid attack in the Commercial Road area of East London.

However, police told Anadolu Agency they held no information on such an incident.

In a separate development, a man who abused two Muslim women in north London was jailed after “admitting to religiously/racially aggravated assault,” according to a police statement issued on Friday.

Alex Chivers, 36, made abusive, Islamophobic comments, calling the victim who was walking with her mother “ISIL scum” and shouting “You deserve this,” before striking one of them in the face with a packet of bacon, police said.

Additional report by The Muslim News

[Photo: Reshma Khan who was attacked with acid]

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