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Last Updated: Tuesday, 11 July 2006, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Community's shock at imam attack
Naeem Mohammad
Naeem Mohammad needed 15 stitches after the assault
Friends of an assistant imam attacked on his way to a mosque say the assault has left people shocked and nervous.

Naeem Mohammad, 29, lost two teeth and needed 15 stitches following the assault near the Islamic Cultural Centre in Rhyl, Denbighshire.

He spent a third day in hospital after being re-admitted when his condition worsened, and is still unable to talk.

Family friend Tabinda Chaudhry said the two attackers were sober and "knew what they were doing".

She described the incident as isolated but said it had caused much concern in the community.

Mr Mohammad was on his way to morning prayers at about 2.30am last Wednesday when he was approached by two men.

Naeem Mohammad and Tabinda Chaudhry
We're watching our backs all the time now as we're walking the street
Tabinda Chaudhry, friend of victim

Speaking from his bedside at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Rhyl, Ms Chaudhry said: "They asked him 'where are you from?'. He just said 'India'.

"They asked him again, 'Hindu or Muslim'? He said, 'I'm a Muslim'. He was walking and straight away they punched him on his face.

"They were completely in their senses. They knew what they were doing. They were not drunk.

"It's really a concern now. We're watching our backs all the time now as we're walking the street.

"It's really made everybody nervous. It's shocked everyone."

Mr Mohammed was taken into hospital again on Sunday and it is not yet known when he will be discharged.

Ms Chaudhry said: "We have been living here peacefully and we have never had any incidents like this.

"You do get the idiot just shouting or something but never something like this."

Ms Chaudhry, who represents women at the mosque, said: "They didn't think about him or his family. It was just a senseless thing to do to a defenceless person."

North Wales Police and Muslim leaders have condemned the attack.

Police said they were disgusted, but they believed it was a random assault, and not one targeted at the Muslim community.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
"Abusive words were hurled at him and then he was punched"



SEE ALSO
'Race' attack on imam near mosque
11 Jul 06 |  North East Wales

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