The footage of a Syrian refugee boy being physically assaulted and ‘waterboarded’ in a disturbing school bullying attack in the United Kingdom has gone viral, but people have poured in with support.
The victim, named as 15-year-old Jamal, is squirted in the face with water before being headbutted in the face by a school bully in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire during the attack, with the news going viral including on TheNewArab.
The boy, whose arm is in a cast, is then pinned down by his throat as the attacker says “I’ll drown you” before forcing water from a bottle into his mouth.
The incident is said to have taken place on playing fields at Almondbury Community School on 25 October and was filmed on a mobile phone by one of the attacker’s friends, who cheered and laughed during the victim’s ordeal.
Jamal and his family settled in the area two years ago after fleeing war-torn Homs in Syria, which was under a brutal siege by the Assad regime from 2011 to 2014.
The boy and his siblings have reportedly suffered months of bullying, to the point where Jamal’s younger sister attempted to cut her own wrists in the school toilets.
It emerged later that the boy who allegedly attacked the Syrian refugee is to be charged with assault, as it was reported the victim’s sister had her headscarf ripped off in another attack on the same say.
Jamal's Sister twice slashed her wrists & tried to commit suicide bcos of bullying at the same School How many students guilty of race/hate crime ? What was the school doing to protect the children ?@SayeedaWarsi @sajidjavid @cjwerleman @BBCBreaking @Ofstednews #iddyknowsbats pic.twitter.com/VnjFkCfGUj
— IDDYKNOWSBATS (@IddyKnowsBats) November 28, 2018
Police said they were investigating a “racially-aggravated assault” and had interviewed a 16-year-old boy in connection with the incident.
The suspected attacker’s Facebook page features frequent posts expressing support for far-right anti-Muslim group Britain First and Tommy Robinson, a notorious British far-right activist.
I am raising money for Jamal from Huddersfield. Bullied at school. Click to Donate: https://t.co/vgtn74y9eW via @gofundme
— Tahir (@mtahir_17) November 27, 2018
There has been an outpouring of support for Jamal on social media, with a GoFundMe campaign raising over £120,000 in 24 hours.
If we all give a little here, #JamalFromHuddersfield will be able to go to university and not have any debt. He'll be running a big company and he can employ his bully to be the car park attendant https://t.co/2w849okhiQ pic.twitter.com/uAIAlBNSD3
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) November 28, 2018
“Jamal’s family are refugees in the UK and they struggle to meet the basic necessities of life,” Mohammed Tahir, who started the fundraising campaign, said.
“Having left a war torn country, the least they deserve is to live in peace without being harassed. Please donate generously and let’s change this horrible situation into a blessing in disguise for them.”
Footage of the sickening attack has caused outrage online.
I'm trying to resist naming the bully in this film — his name is all over Twitter anyway.
More important, is it possible to do anything for the victim? A Syrian refugee who already had a broken wrist, apparently from a similar attack.
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) November 27, 2018
Escapes death, destruction and violence in Syria only to be viciously attacked, waterboarded and bullied at school in the U.K. This makes my blood boil. #Jamal https://t.co/nWKfrlOaFs
— Danny Makki (@Dannymakkisyria) November 27, 2018
While others reminded the world the true root of such behaviour.
Don’t blame the kid in the video. Blame the hate spreaders:
Tommy Robinson ✅
Katie Hopkins ✅
Nigel Farage ✅
Paul Dacre ✅
Britain First ✅
Result: Jamal and all the other innocents like him. #Jamal #JamalFromHuddersfield
— Jolyon Rubinstein (@JolyonRubs) November 28, 2018
Sending ❤️ to Jamal – but the hypocrisy from some parts of the media saying how awful this attack was is hard to stomach. This is what happens when you whip up fear and hatred of those you view as different or not belonging #Jamal #JamalFromHuddersfield pic.twitter.com/4M80JHWVNi
— India Willoughby (@IndiaWilloughby) November 28, 2018
“This bully, his parents, the school where this occurs and the onlookers who fail to step in, all have big questions to answer. To the Syrian refugee – I say sorry. It’s not the welcoming, friendly Britain we are supposed to be.”
A spokesman for Kirklees Council said on Twitter that “neither us nor the school condone violence in any form and behaviour like this will not be tolerated.”
However, there are those who are justifying the attack.
#TommyRobinson's disgusting comments on the Syrian refugee boy who was wateeboarded in #Huddersfield…#Jamal #JamalFromHuddersfield pic.twitter.com/FhbpxuJZdl
— زاهد أختر (@AHudhayfah) November 28, 2018