Blind Afghan man attacked at home in Clondalkin

Men dressed in balaclavas attacked victim in front of his wife and children on Thursday

A blind Afghan man was beaten with a metal rod in front of his wife and children at their home in Clondalkin in south Dublin on the night of June 30th in what he has described as a racially motivated attack. Video: Kathleen Harris

 

A blind Afghan man was beaten with a metal rod in front of his wife and children at their home in Clondalkin on Thursday night in what he has described as a racially motivated attack.

Sultan Kabir Chakari was watching television with his wife, three of his sons and his daughter-in-law at their home in west Dublin at about 11.30pm when he heard loud banging on the front door.

Three masked men broke the lock on the family’s front door before using a knife to break through a second door leading into the living room, Mr Chakari explained through broken English.

“My wife was shouting that these people had come to kill my children,” he told The Irish Times on Friday morning, shortly after returning home from hospital. “They shouted we will kill you.”

The three intruders, who were dressed in black and wearing balaclavas, managed to break through the second door and began beating Mr Chakari with a metal rod on the head.

“They were shouting at me, saying they would kill me and kill my children. They beat me on the head two or three times.”

He called for his sons to run outside and call for help. His 13-year-old and 12-year-old sons obliged and ran into the back garden. However, the youngest, four-year-old Ahmad Zohair, was frozen to the spot.

“He just stood there in shock, looking at what was happening,” said his older brother Ahmed Jabair. “He was in shock.”

The family say the men spent a few minutes in the house shouting threats before fleeing in the direction of Lealand. The family called 999 and the gardaí and emergency services arrived within 15 minutes.

Mr Chakari was taken to hospital in an ambulance where he received stitches to a gash above his eyebrow. He spent the night in the hospital and returned home around 6am on Friday.

Originally from Afghanistan, Mr Chakari fled his country in 2004 after a rocket smashed into his home in Kabul. He was seriously injured in the explosion and lost his eyesight. He eventually made it to Ireland in 2004 guided by a trafficker. In 2011, he was eventually reunited with his family who had fled to safety in Pakistan and subsequently travelled to Ireland. The family moved to Dublin from their home in Cork two years ago.

Mr Chakari was still wearing the blood stained sweatshirt from the night before as he described the attack to The Irish Times. He lifted his cap to reveal a series of dark bruises on the crown of his head and runs his finger along the gash above his eyelid.

“I don’t know the reason for the attack but I think some people are racist. Maybe they don’t want me here. They don’t want Muslims here and don’t want me to live in Ireland.

“They called out shocking words... they used bad words. They said: I’ll kill you, f**k off, very bad words. They wanted to beat me in front of my children. My children were so afraid, they were crying.”

He says he did not recognise the men’s voices and cannot understand why they targeted his family. Ahmad Zohair, the youngest member of the family, refused to speak, eat or sleep following the attack. It was late Friday morning before he began making sounds and communicating with his family.

“My children are all afraid now. They’re asking me every minute: ‘why did they attack, will they come again, do they want to kill me?’”

Mr Chakari says the family has suffered verbal racial abuse before from people on the street outside their home late at night, but has never experienced physical assault.

“I don’t feel safe here. For me this is not a good place to live because I’m not able to defend myself. I’m a blind man, I’m very innocent. I can’t do anything. I can’t see.”

Mr Chakari says he would like to stay in Dublin but move to an area where he can feel safe.

“My situation does not allow me to go out... to mix with people. I’m inside the house a lot. I’m totally blind. And not just blind, I have numbness in my leg when walking, problems with my walk... But I’m stuck in this house. If they come to kill me, I dunno.”

Asked to comment on the attack, a spokesman from the Garda press office said the incident was being treated as a case of “aggravated burglary” and would be referred to the Garda diversity office for further investigation.

The latest statistics from the Immigrant Council of Ireland show that reports of Islamaphobia rose by 35 per cent in 2015 and the council has warned that increasing numbers of Muslims in Ireland are experiencing abuse based on their religion and dress.

Despite the introduction of a Garda pulse system last December to record instances of racism and hate crime, many people say they are uncomfortable contacting the gardaí and lack confidence in the Irish justice system.

Local Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin condemned the attack and said he planned to contact the family to offer support and guidance.

“It this attack was racially motivated, it would make it even more concerning,” said Mr Ó Broin. “Whatever the intention of the attackers, what they did was wrong.”