Video shows 15-year-old Syrian refugee being choked in bullying incident at school in U.K.

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A video of a 15-year-old Syrian refugee being choked and having water poured on his face at a school in Northern England has led to widespread outrage across the U.K.

The video shows the teenager, identified by local media as Jamal, being grabbed by a larger boy who throws him to the ground and holds him by the throat while pouring water over Jamal’s face saying, “I’ll drown you.”

Jamal, who is wearing a cast, can be seen walking away following the attack as a group of students laughs at him.

West Yorkshire Police released a statement Wednesday stating the incident occurred in late October near the Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield, northwest of Manchester, but video of the incident began circulating on social media this week.

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A 16-year-old boy will appear in youth court on charges of assault, police said. In an interview with ITV, Jamal said he has been targeted by bullies for the last two years.

“I was feeling unsafe everywhere — even to go to the shop,” he said. “I woke up at night and just started crying because of this problem.”

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Police said this was not the first time Jamal had been assaulted after fleeing Syria and arriving in Britain in 2016 through a United Nations refugee program.

The teenager suffered a wrist injury in another attack earlier in October and the Daily Mirror reports that his younger sister had also been bullied at the same school to the point that she tried to take her own life.

A separate video of her being pushed to the ground surfaced on social media Wednesday.

“She had her headscarf ripped off in the playground,” Mohammed Akunjee, the family’s lawyer, told the Daily Mirror. “She has also attempted suicide and tried to cut her wrists with a shard of glass, the level of bullying got so much.”

Both children have said they won’t be returning to the school, according to the Guardian.

The incidents at Huddersfield were widely condemned by U.K. politicians. Local Member of Parliament Barry Sheerman called the incident “absolutely shocking.”

“Have been supporting the family since it was first brought to my attention,” Sheerman said in a Twitter post. “Understand from council that the school have taken strong action. Will be following up to ensure all available support is being given!”

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The videos have also led to an outpouring support for the family. An online GoFundMe campaign has raised more than £140,000 pounds, or $237,671.59, from more than 9,000 people.

“Jamal’s family are refugees in the U.K. and they struggle to meet the basic necessities of life,” said Mohammed Tahir, who organized the fundraising, in a statement. “The video was heartbreaking to watch and I just wanted to help them out in any way I could.”

The bullying incidents come at a time of soaring hate crime rates in Europe. In the last five years, the number of recorded hate crimes has more than doubled in the U.K., according to a report released by the Home Office in October.


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Hate crime offences rose by 17 per cent to 94,098 between April 2017 and March 2018, according to the data. It represented an increase of 123 per cent since 2012-13, when 42,255 hate crimes were recorded.

“There have been spikes in hate crime following certain events such as the and the terrorist attacks in 2017,” read a statement from the Home Office.

In Canada, Statistics Canada said Thursday that police-reported hate crime increased sharply last year, with incidents targeting Jews, Muslims and Black people accounting for most of the national increases.

Hate crimes targeting Jews increased for the second year in a row and accounted for 18 per cent of all hate crimes nationally.

Incidents involving Muslims more than doubled between 2016 and 2017, while hate crimes targeting Black people accounted for 16 per cent of all hate crimes nationally.


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© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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