[Imam of Hull Mosque, 60, was left permanently blind in his right eye in an unprovoked attack]
By Elham Asaad Buaras
An appeal for calm and witness has been issued after the Imam of Hull Mosque was left permanently blind in his right eye in an unprovoked attack. Imam Hafiz Salik, 60, was driving home from his daughter’s house at 10.30pm on November 30 when two men and a woman attempted to stop his car.
His son, Ateeq Salik, explained to The Muslim News how two men and a woman ran into the middle of the road on Spring Bank West, Hull, forcing his father to stop the car.
Ateeq said: “One of the men lay down in the road right in front of the car. My father was confused and thought he was injured. Then the man slowly got up and went to the car and opened the door. My mum was sitting in the front and my youngest sister was in the back. He looked at all of them and he punched my father very hard in the face. It was a very forceful punch and my father’s face was covered in blood. Then the man walked away.”
Ateeq said considering his father attire the family “could not rule out” the possibility of the attack being Islamophobic but insisted they are keeping an open mind and will wait for the completion of the investigation.
He added, “They [the perpetrators] could not have known who was in the car when they stopped it – it would have been difficult to know from afar. But his attacker did see his face before he punched him.”
Salik underwent a second surgery on December 10 which indicated he is unlikely to ever see in his right eye.
Ateeq said: “The damage is so bad that he has been told not to get his hopes up. He hasn’t been able to see out if it since it happened and we don’t think it is likely the vision will ever go back to what it was, if it comes back at all.”
Hafiz Salik underwent surgery to repair a rupture in the eye. He also suffered a fractured eye socket and has had 15 stitches. Doctors predict an object may have been used to inflict the injury on the right eye.
Hafiz Salik is a well-known figure in the city and sits on city council and police boards. He also works with other faiths to promote understanding.
Ateeq, who led prayers at the mosque on Friday, passed a message of peace and unity to the congregation from his father. “Initially there was a lot of anger from the community but we have appealed for calm.” he explained.
Ateeq said his father is drawing good spirit from his faith but is frustrated at being unable to carry out his duties.
Appealing for information in connection with an incident a spokesman for Humberside Police described the offender as “a white man, 5ft 6in tall, well-built and aged 25-30.The man had short brown hair and was wearing a dark stone-coloured jacket, shirt and trousers. ”
A spokesman for the police told The Muslim News it was “too early to say what the motive behind the attack is.”