Turning Reker Ahmed’s attack into a moralising Hate Crime
The asylum seeker fighting for life after being beaten up in Croydon, South London, is 17-year-old Reker Ahmed. Initial reports stated that an 8-strong gang of youths kicked the Iranian unconscious after first asking him where he was from. The narrative was that the victim was targeted because he and the two friends with whom he was waiting for a bus just before midnight were asylum seekers. Politicians were quick to wrap the nasty incident into a story about Brexit. Leading Labour politicians blamed the Government and Brexit voters for creating an environment where this sort of thing is allowed to happen. It wasn’t violent thugs looking for a soft target. It was right-wing racists looking for migrants. It was not spontaneous. It was pre-meditated.
And then the facts started to emerge. Sort of.
Reker Ahmed suffered a fractured skull and blood clot on his brain. He’s in hospital.
The Metro said it wasn’t 8 people who chased and kicked Reker Ahmed Asylum in the head. Reker was “beaten by [a] mob of 20 people”. The Telegraph was quick to trump that with: “Mob of up to 30 joined ‘appalling’ attack on Croydon asylum seeker.” Why ‘appalling’ should be in inverted commas is unclear. Is the country now so dangerous that Telegraph readers need steerage when it comes to understanding ultra violence?
Police have been knocking on doors. Five people have been charged with violent disorder. The accused named so far are: brother and sister Danyelle, 24 and Daryl Davis, 20 (violent disorder); brothers Jack Walder (violent disorder) and his brother George Walker, who is charged with violent disorder and racially aggravated grievous bodily harm; and Barry Potts (violent disorder). All are local to the Croydon area.
Police have also charged a 23 year old man, a 17 year old girl and a 19-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder and violent disorder.
In all 11 arrests have been made. Others are being sought to help with police enquiries.
Jacqui Hughes, prosecuting at Croydon Magistrates’ Court, sets the scene:
“Some people, including the defendants, come out of the Goat pub and approached the three victims and asked where they were from. George Walder then began punching the victim to the face. People from a white Vauxhall Corsa car pulled up and started chasing the victims.
“George Walder chased them across a roundabout to a bus stop where Mr Ahmed was punched and kicked. Mustafa and Mohammed ran off toward Bridal Road. Barry Potts was amongst those chasing across the roundabout and a fight broke out again. More people came out of the pub including the defendants and others. A large fight continued and Mr (Recker) Ahmed was punched and kicked. It dies down and people return to the pub and Jack Walder is seen putting on chains around his neck that he wasn’t wearing before. CCTV shows the group punch and kick him. Mr (Recker) Ahmed was missing two gold chains and a gold coloured watch.
“A large group continued to chase the victims down Shrublands Avenue. Mr (Recker) Ahmed is caught and thrown to the ground. People started punching and kicking him. Mustafa and Mohammed go into a nearby garden and throw stones at the group. This appeared to be an unprovoked and motiveless attack based solely on his ethnicity.”
Not a violent mugging, then? Not gang-bangers out for kicks, literally?
Det Supt Jane Corrigan says: “The gang actually asked where he was from before launching their attack, which is why we are treating this as racially motivated.” But maybe it wasn’t. Corrigan adds: “We are working with the local pub to try and establish where they all came from and what led to this horrible incident.”
She adds: “I genuinely don’t think people have gone out that night with the intention to commit this horrific attack. You’ve got a really difficult mix of youth, the time of night, alcohol, and it only takes one person to say something that could spark off something massive – which is what I think has happened on this evening. This is a random attack and the suspect and victims aren’t known to each other that we are aware of.”
In other words, the “institutionally racist” police service doesn’t know why Reker Ahmed was attacked and savagely beaten.
But here comes London Mayor Sadiq Khan to add his view. “Hate crime has no place in London, Britain or anywhere else,” he says, to say nothing of kicking a young innocent man in the head – which he doesn’t. “Our communities will not be divided by those who seek to sow hate. And we will always take a zero tolerance approach to hate crimes of any type. Anyone who witnesses a hate crime should report it to the police immediately.”
A hate crime is a wonderfully nebulous thing. If you “think” it’s a hate crime, then it is one. Why is a new crime is needed when “violent disorder” and “attempted murder” seem to be do just fine? The suspicion is that hate crime means just what those in power want it to mean. Officials can use hate crime to tell the rest of how to behave. It’s a moral code dressed up as law to corral us into ‘acceptable’ forms of behaviour, speech and thought. The headline crime is not that an innocent man was badly beaten, but that when striking up conversation with their victim, the alleged criminals asked him where he was from. There is no word of what else they said, if they yelled “Get the asylum seeker” or some such phrase as they gave chase.
A friend was mugged in London not too long ago, The attacker asked him for the time. As he looked down at his watch, he was punched in the face. The attacker, now joined by two others, demanded the watch. Is it stretching things too far to suppose Reker Ahmed’s alleged attackers rather liked the look of his bling and the question “Where are you from?” was part of their modus operandi to getting it?
We don’t know. But call it a hate crime and a nasty incident is politicised and becomes a warning to us all.