- Orthodox Jew, 41, beaten up by teenage gang on street in Gateshead
- Two men aged 19, one aged 18 and another 17 admitted racist attack
- They waited behind van before pouncing on man as he walked home
- Victim says he's 'now scared to walk past Asian community members'
- Attackers claimed they were only in the area looking for a new mosque
An Orthodox Jew was beaten up by a gang of teenagers who said the attack was a protest ‘about the Palestinians and the Jewish community’, a court has heard.
Balawal Sultan, 18, Kesa Malik, 19, Hassnain Aliamin, 18, all from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and a 17-year-old boy have all admitted attacked the 41-year-old victim in nearby Gateshead.
Sultan, who had hours earlier sent a text message saying he was ‘going Jew bashing’, lay in wait with the other three behind a van before pouncing on the victim as he walked home to his family.
Admitted racially-aggravated common assault: Balawal Sultan (left), 18, and Hassnain Aliamin (right), 18, all from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, were involved in the attack of a 41-year-old victim in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear
The victim screamed in fear as the pack chased him down the street, throwing wood at him, before tripping as he fled and being surrounded by the teenagers while stricken on the ground.
One of the thugs was threatening to kick him in the head when the victim was saved by a friend.
The attackers claimed they were only in the area looking for a new mosque but one of them admitted the planned attack was motivated by the dispute between Israel and Palestine.
After all four teenagers pleaded guilty to racially-aggravated common assault, the victim said he has been left feeling unsafe.
In a statement to Newcastle Crown Court, he said: ‘I feel shaken and unsafe to walk the streets in my own community. I have never experienced fear and terror like it and I have no doubt I was attacked for being Jewish.
‘I was targeted because of my religion and I’m now scared to walk past members of the Asian community with whom otherwise I have no problem. When I come across a person from the Middle East I feel scared and petrified.
In the gang: The group had set about looking for a victim, with Kesa Malik (pictured), 19, driving
‘I’m part of a very close community and this has had a far-reaching impact, word having spread and fear having also spread. I think this was because of the coverage of the ongoing conflict in the media, even though that had nothing to do with my community.
‘I’m a peaceful person from a quiet and peaceful community and I’ve never been in that position before. I have been greatly affected by it and but for the intervention of my friend the consequences could have been far worse.’
The man said he has suffered nightmares about the attack and has been left living in fear.
He added: ‘Now, coming home at night fills me with fear. The incident has left me annoyed and angry because I used to be able to walk around the area I live without any fear.
These men have changed my life and I only hope I’m able to get over this very difficult period.’
The night before the attack, Sultan sent a text message saying ‘I’m going to go Jew bashing. Haha’.
Hours later, just after midnight on July 18, he and the others set about carrying out the threat.
With Malik driving, they started looking for a victim.
The man they attacked had been at a Jewish study room nearby and was on his way home.
Bridie Smurthwaite, prosecuting, said: ‘The defendants had deliberately travelled to the area in Gateshead where there were members of the Jewish community with the particular intention of targeting someone from that community.
‘The Crown say the victim was targeted because he was wearing traditional Jewish attire, a black suit and white shirt and a black hat.
‘As he walked along (a road) he saw a man standing by a parked van and he felt slightly nervous because he appeared to be looking at him. The man disappeared behind the van and the complainant continued along the street.
‘He thought the man had gone but as he reached the van, the four defendants ran out from behind the van charging towards him. He was petrified and started to run and was screaming "Help me, help me".
‘He ran away and a piece of wood was thrown at him and landed at his feet. Terrified and running, he lost his balance and tripped. He thinks he fell because of the piece of wood.’
As he lay injured on the ground, he was surrounded by Sultan, Malik, Aliamin and the youth.
The victim screamed ‘I have done nothing to you’, and one of the men pulled his foot back as if he was about to kick him in the head.
Miss Smurthwaite said: ‘He continued screaming for help and fortunately for him the screams were heard by a family friend of his, whose doorway this was happening in.
‘The witness saw two men kneeling on top of his friend and two men watching. It was his intervention which caused the attack to come to an end.’
They ran off and the victim was ushered inside by his friend, who said he was dishevelled, unsteady, confused and in shock.
His clothes were dirty and his palms, forearm and elbow were grazed and bleeding. When police caught up with the attackers they claimed they were just looking for a new mosque.
But Sultan admitted when they saw the victim they chased him and threw a stick as a ‘protest about the Palestinians and about the Jewish community’ but denied making any contact with him.
Sultan, Malik, Aliamin, and the 17-year-old – who was aged 16 at the time of the attack - all admitted racially-aggravated common assault.
Aliamin’s barrister said he accepted the attack was racially motivated and apologised. He said Aliamin, who is a delivery driver and college student, had brought shame on his family.
Joe Hedworth, for the youth, said: ‘He understands this kind of behaviour is utterly unacceptable.’
Barristers for the other two will mitigate when they are sentenced.