MANCHESTER – A British Muslim father, whose home was attacked by someone who threw pig’s head through a window, has lamented that he had been struggling to explain to his young kids why they were singled out.
Ajaz Mahmood told BuzzFeed News he was at work at the restaurant he runs when he received a phone call from his wife, Ghazala Kauser, whom he described as “hysterical”.
“She was screaming, hysterical, I had to calm her down,” he said after he rushed home.
“She said somebody smashed the window. I put the phone down and raced home. I only realized when I got into my front room there was a pig’s head there, wedged between the arms of the sofa, wrapped in plastic. I thought it was absolutely disgusting.”
Although no one was injured, the Muslim family have been left shaken by the incident, which happened at about 10 pm on Saturday.
Mahmood said his son Hammas, 14, and his 6-year-old daughter Zeina were in the room at the time.
Hammas was playing on his playstation, while his sister was sitting on the sofa when what police described as a brick of animal’s head came flying through the window.
“My son and my daughter, she’s only six years old, they were upset,” he said. “They were frightened when the glass smashed and the concrete slab was thrown through the house, then the pig’s head.
“I’m really shocked. My kids are my main priority,” he added, saying he couldn’t think of any reason why he had been targeted.
“I can’t think of a reason at all. I’m just a normal bloke, who just goes to work, tries to look after his family. I’ve not got any enemies, I’m not overly religious.
“I’m shocked that somebody could throw a concrete slab that could have hurt somebody really badly, knowing there could have been children in the house. That made me even angrier, people had not thought about the fact that there were kids there.”
Since the attack, the kids have been asking uncomfortable questions about why the family had been targeted.
“My daughter is only a child, she doesn’t understand what’s gone on,” he said.
“She’s asking questions, why the window has been smashed, why that head has been thrown through. They’re both asking questions. How do you explain that to a 6-year-old? What do you say to them? I told them they’re just mindless people that have done that.”
Mahmood, who was born in Yorkshire, has lived in Oldham for almost three decades, and the same house for the past 11 years without incident.
“I’ve never had an incident in that area, we’ve lived in the area for 28, 29 years,” he said.
“We had incidents in the late 80s, got the odd racial abuse, lads used to come from the estate and smashed a couple of windows, but after a few months, it died away. We’re in 2017, nobody tolerates that rubbish anymore.”
Police are treating the attack as a suspected hate crime. Between April and June this year there were 2,758 hate crimes and incidents reported to police in Greater Manchester. Race and/or religion was listed as a factor in 2,724 of these.
“These kinds of criminal acts, which blatantly target individuals because of a part of their identity, in this case, their Muslim identity, leave not only short, medium, and long-term impacts on the victims, they also create fear among those wider individuals who may be of the same religion in that area,” Fiyaz Mughal from hate crime monitoring project TellMAMA told BuzzFeed News.
“This hate crime, in particular, is extremely personal given that the pork material was thrown into somebody’s house, and we would hope that any sentencing of the perpetrator is severe and significant, given the personalized nature and also the wider impact on other Muslims in the area.”