Belfast Telegraph

Families living in terror after racist attack on their Belfast home

By Brett Campbell

Two terrified Bengali-Muslim families who fled their home after a brick was thrown through a living room window are living in fear after returning to the north Belfast property.

Mr and Mrs Rahman (aged 38 and 39) live in the property on York Road with their best friends Jali Ali (22) and Mohammad Uddin (27) and the couple's one-year-son Ahyan, who was left shaking uncontrollably following the attack.

The incident, which happened at around 10pm on Thursday, is being treated as a hate crime.

"They started throwing stones and they were shouting 'black paki b******s'," Mr Rahman told the Belfast Telegraph.

"It was a big stone and there was a big noise - it was terrifying.

"Ahyan woke up and he was just shaking and shaking, he didn't sleep all night - none of us did."

Mrs Rahman said youths were among the attackers.

"There were four males, two of them were around 30 and two of them were only teenagers, they must have been 13," she said.

Both families fled the property yesterday morning and presented themselves to the Housing Executive as homeless but were unable to secure suitable accommodation without being separated.

"They offered us separate accommodation, but it was too far apart," Mr Rahman said.

"Jali suffers from back pain and a number of health conditions. I don't know what will happen, but we are definitely scared."

Mr Rahman has lived here for nine years but only moved to his current address last December - he was later joined by his wife and friends.

"We won't be leaving the country, we like it here," he said.

"We are good people and we have friends here, we don't cause trouble to anyone."

A spokesperson for the Hosuing Executive said temporary housing options were discussed in an effort to source satisfactory accommodation.

"Despite several offers of immediate temporary accommodation, the families have decided to make their own arrangements," they added.

The incident, which is the latest in a spate of attacks, prompted a warning from Amnesty International that Northern Ireland is "in the midst of a hate crime epidemic".

There have been 595 racially motivated attacks - an average of two a day - over the last year, with more than 80% of the incidents going unpunished.

Belfast Telegraph

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