Solidarity Demo after Racist Attack in Rathfarnham


A demonstration organised by United Against Racism took place on Tuesday 10th on Nutgrove Way, Rathfarnham. Despite the wet and windy weather, a couple hundred people assembled to show solidarity with the Ahmadzai family - originally from Afghanistan - and to send a message to their assailants. 4 men, at least some of them local, carried out a vicious and pre-meditated racist attack on brothers Naqib (18) and Fazal (20), and their 13-year-old nephew Abdul, on Thursday 5th at around 8pm as they walked home.





There's no ambiguity about the racism of the attack (cf. Irish Times: 'apparent racist attack' and ''racist' attack') and it was of the utmost severity. Among other things, the attackers barked 'Why are you here? Go back to your country'. They told their victims they knew where they lived: 'I know you live in [estate]. You all live in [estate]'. And they made a direct threat on their lives: 'We’ll see you again. Go back to your own country. This is a warning, next time we’ll kill you. [Fucking Muslims]'.

Witnesses shouted at the thugs to stop, and took photos of them and their car (a blue Peugeot). After the attackers fled , witnesses came to the Ahmadzais to check if they were OK. An ambulance was called and all 3 of them were taken to hospital. The two uncles – having been beaten unconscious, including with iron bars - were transferred to the emergency department.




Of course, if the word 'terrorism' was ever appropriate it is now, but the narrative will not be presented as such in the mainstream because this is reserved for Muslims (and republicans). As expected, the attack had a profoundly traumatising effect. In the days following the attack, the family variously said that they were considering moving back to Afghanistan, that none of the six children in the house will be attending school anymore, and that the two brothers are too afraid to leave the house.

Abdul, in an interview with RTE on Sunday, said that 'I'm always scared, I can't sleep at night. When I sleep I dream they come to my house and kill my family ... I don't want to go anywhere, I don't want to go to school, I don't want to go to the park, not even the shop – because if that was their warning, how would they kill me? ... If I don't go to school, I'm OK without education, at least I'll be alive'


The 3 had actually decided not to attend the demonstration on Tuesday, due to fear of being attacked again, but changed their mind when people gathered.



It is not all bleak. Although Ireland is certainly not free from racism – either personal or institutionalised – '[this attack] does not represent the Irish people [or] Ireland', as Shaykh Dr. Umar Al-Qadri from the Irish Muslim Peace and Integration Council proclaimed at the demo. Abdul’s father said the family had received a lot of support since the incident. The majority of locals were horrified to hear this happened in their area. The street was quickly stickered with slogans by anti-racists/anti-fascists. Most people have been shocked and disgusted to hear what happened. There's no doubt many more people would have attended the demonstration if it had been more widely publicised. The family say they haven't suffered anything like this before and their experience in Ireland has been generally positive. [Edit: a day after this article was written Abdul - an avid cricket player who wants to play for Ireland some day - was chosen to be the mascot for the Irish cricket team]

Abdul addressed the crowd, saying 'I can't believe there are so many people here'. One of his uncles said (in an interview) 'I saw all the people come together. It has made me so happy that all these people are here to support me and my family'. Many people shook the hands of the Ahmadzai family and offered words of support.

Eileen Flynn of the Irish Traveller Movement said that the incident was more even tragic given their story '[as refugees] running from fear, coming to Ireland for safety ... it's making me very sad'.

There were several other speakers, from the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), People Before Profit, Sinn Féin, and Gary Daly (migrants' rights/anti-racist activist). The crowd consisted of non-activist locals and activists and campaigners from several groups (such as the Workers Solidarity Movement, éirígí, Anti-Austerity Alliance, Anti-Racism Network, Islamic Cultural Centre, Dublin Council of Trade Unions) and none.



Despite, in one way, the assault not being representative of Ireland, in another it is, as such racist violence doesn't come out of nowhere . It is reflective of the spread of xenophobic, and in particular Islamophobic, ideology and hence hatred across Ireland and the rest of Europe. And with this grave attack, and similar violence in other countries, in mind we must do our best to halt the spread of this poison.

(WORDS: Asha Amargi)