Brexit voters blamed for Croydon attack on Reker Ahmed
Having couched the brutal attack on three Kuridish-Iranian asylum seekers as a ‘hate crime‘ fuelled by racism and prejudice rather than individual malice, a violent assault triggered by Brexit, facts are emerging from the Croydon crime scene. It’s believed the mayhem began after the attackers learned the trio were asylum-seekers. But we don’t know what happened. Not yet.
Police have made 13 arrests. The youngest suspect in the attack that left Reker Ahmed with a blood clot on the brain and a fractured spine is a 15-year-old boy. We don’t know his politics.
The latest batch of alleged attackers charged with violent disorder are: James Neves, 22; Liam Neylen and Ellie Leite, both 19; Kyran Evans, 23; and a 17-year-old girl and the aforesaid 15-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Ben Harman, 20, and a 17-year-old boy, who also cannot be named, are accused of violent disorder and racially aggravated GBH. Mr Harman is also charged with dangerous driving. Add them to the list appearing before the Beak at Croydon Magistrates’ Court.
We don’t know the suspects’ political beliefs or attitudes to immigration, the EU and multiculturalism. But the brutal crime has been used by Remain-supporting politicians to condemn all of the 17.4m aspirational, radical voters who sought self-determination, change, progress and a more accountable political class by voting for Brexit. As shadow home secretary Diane Abbott opined: “Sadly [this] is not an isolated incident but part of a sustained increase in hate crimes… With right-wing politicians across the world scapegoating migrants, refugees and others for their economic problems, we are seeing a deeply worrying rise in the politics of hate. We must make clear that there is no place for anti-foreigner myths, racism and hate in our society.”
But before you nutters who voted for Brexit beat yourself with sticks and wonder how exercising your democratic vote turned you into such a violent bigot worthy of contempt, a word on what hate crime is. According to the CPS: “A Hate Incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someones prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.” If you think it’s a hate crime, it is one. It’s an imaginary and politicised crime, an instrument to be wielded by the knowing against naysayers, free speech and free thought. There are many offences covered by acts of bigotry and violence. But a hate crime frames everything in social attitudes.
As for the victim, the BBC says Mr Ahmed is on the mend. Good news. We hope he makes a full recovery and helps to nail the bastards who attacked him. Police have still not had any luck contacting his family who they believe live in Iran. Meanwhile, a fundraising page set up to help him has raised more than £22,000.
As for the investigation, the Standard says “as many as a dozen or more suspects are through [sic] to be still at large”. Readers hear from Patson Ngoma, the landlord of The Goat, a pub close to where the crime began.“On the day all of us were having a nice time,” he says. “It was just a normal day like any other day. We didn’t hear anything, we didn’t know anything.”
There was no far-Right march on the day of the attack. The pub close to the scene of the attack is not a haven for racists. But it is lively. In 2016, the Croydon Guardian reported: “Councillors met on Monday to decide the fate of The Goat in Broom Road, which had been visited a number of times by police because of criminal and anti-social behaviour. One occasion, a firework was thrown at officers dealing with ‘hostile’ customers at the pub.”
Maybe it wasn’t a hate crime. Maybe Reka Ahmed was unlucky to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time? We’ll know more soon enough.
Such are the facts.