A student has claimed he was kicked and punched in the face by a group of men because wished them a ‘merry Christmas’ after they accused him of being a suicide bomber.
Ihsan Abualrob, who is currently studying a masters in politics at Durham University, said he was left ‘in pain and humiliated’ after being kicked in the head and body by three men while he was on the ground.
Mr Abualrob, who is originally from Palestine, said the trouble started when he was approached by a man at the Happy Wanderer pub as he tried to play pool with friend.
Speaking to the Northern Echo, he said: “We don’t drink and were sitting there chatting when out of the blue a British guy approached us, pulled up a chair uninvited and asked us where we were from,”
“My friends said from Egypt and myself from Palestine.”
The man replied: ‘Egypt, Palestine. You Muslims. Are you suicide bombers?”
Sensing aggression from the man Mr Abualrob and his friend quickly left the pub but once outside he claims he was approached by three men who started to insult Islam.
In response to the insults Mr Abualrob told the men: “Merry Christmas, enjoy your holiday” before attempting to walk off.
Mr Abualrob said: “One of them threw a glass towards us. Then one of them lunged at me and punched me on my left cheek and I fell to the ground.
“Then three of them started kicking me in the head, shoulders and body. I grabbed my head in my arms trying to protect my face.”
“I have bruises on my face, my knee is badly injured and above all, I have a bad concussion. I am dizzy and with a terrible headache and have blurred vision.”
He collapsed outside the pub after the attack and was taken to University Hospital of North Durham by police and was treated for his injuries.
The student said: “Christmas should be a time of love and hope, not violence.”
A Durham Police spokesman said: ‘Police were called to an assault outside the Happy Wanderer pub in Durham at around 8.40pm on Christmas Eve.
‘One man was taken to University Hospital North Durham with minor injuries.
‘A 49-year-old man and a 23-year-old have been arrested on suspicion of racially or religiously aggravated assault with injury.’