Page last updated at 16:26 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 17:26 UK

'Race attack' police visit scene

Mohammad Al-Majed
Mohammad Al-Majed had spent five weeks in Hastings

Officers investigating the death of Mohammed Al-Majed in Sussex have returned to the scene of his assault.

The 16-year-old student died after a suspected racially-motivated attack outside a kebab shop in Hastings, East Sussex, on Friday 22 August.

Detectives were joined by local police along the seafront a week on, hoping to speak to people who were in the area when the assault took place.

A police spokesman said he was not certain all witnesses had come forward.

"There has been a good response to our appeals but I am still not convinced that we have spoken to everyone who has information," he said.

"I am aware of reports in the media of Mohammed having been kicked, stamped, or trodden on," said Det Ch Insp Graham Pratt.

"There is nothing from our investigation so far to suggest this is the case."

Arab warning

Police said Mohammed died from injuries caused by falling and hitting his head on the ground.

On Thursday, his uncle said Arabs should not send their children to England.

Ghazi Abdullah al-Majed told the BBC his nephew had complained about hostility towards Arabs in the town.

But community leaders, who held discussions in Hastings on Thursday, said it was safe for foreign visitors.

Mr al-Majed said Mohammed was worried about his safety before the attack on 22 August.

"He said people were not treating him very well, he said 'they don't like Arabs'.

'Extremist groups'

Mohammad, who had spent five weeks in Hastings studying English, died in Kings College Hospital, London, from head injuries.

Hastings and Rye MP Michael Foster called the meeting of student leaders, council leaders and police.

"Hastings is not a racist town," he said.

Hastings kebab shop
Mohammed was attacked outside a kebab shop and died two days later

"But we do have a significant minority of individuals who are racist and they are encouraged by extremist groups that seek to play a part in stirring up unrest."

Following the attack on Mohammed, three men - two aged 18 and one aged 20 - and a 17-year-old youth were arrested and bailed.

Ch Insp Mark Ling said Sussex Police's major crime branch was treating the teenager's death as a top priority.

But he said crimes against foreign students were low, with 12 assaults recorded between April and August this year.

Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Pragnell insisted the town - which is said to be home to people of at least 100 different nationalities - was a "welcoming place".

"An event like this - apart from being a dreadful tragedy for Mohammed and his family - is not good for Hastings," he said.

"We are generally a safe place."

A memorial ceremony for Mohammed is being held in Hastings on Monday.

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The local MP has insisted the town is safe




SEE ALSO
Dead student 'hit head in fall'
26 Aug 08 |  Sussex
Student, 16, dies after assault
25 Aug 08 |  Sussex

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