Afghan family assaulted in apparent racist attack

Rathfarnham assault perpetrated by gang of five assailants who threatened to kill family

An Afghan man fears for his family's safety after his son (13) and two young brothers were punched in the face, kicked and beaten unconscious in an apparent racist attack near Marlay Park in Dublin.

The assault, which was launched on the three by a gang of five men, occurred after the family had spent a few hours on Thursday evening in the Rathfarnham park enjoying the sunshine.

The 32-year-old man, who moved to Ireland from Afghanistan six years ago when he was granted refugee status and became an Irish citizen in 2013.

The man's 18- and 20-year-old brothers, Naqeeb Ahmadzai and Fazalrahman Ahmadzai, decided to cycle home with the man's 13-year-old son, while the rest of the family returned home, The Irish Times was told.


As the three cycled along Nutgrove Way, a car with five adult men slow down beside them. “They rolled down the window and started shouting the F-word many times, swearing a lot and saying, ‘Why are you here? Go back to your country,’” he said.

“The men drove the car across in front of them, blocked them in,” he said. “They didn’t check their pockets for money or take their bikes – they went straight to punch them. ”

Metal object

Some of the attackers used “a black metal object” to beat the men, the man said. “Both my brothers fell unconscious after they were punched in the face.

“At the end of it, they punched my son in the face and head. Everything happened in four to five minutes.”

The men then got back into their car. “They stuck up their finger saying, ‘We’ll see you again. Go back to your own country. This is a warning, next time we’ll kill you.’ They used the F-word about being Muslim too.”

The family spoke to The Irish Times yesterday outside St James's Hospital emergency department as the man's brothers continued to receive medical treatment for their injuries .

‘This is my home’

“Irish people have been lovely. This is my home. I can’t believe this attack has happened. Why would people want to hurt my son like this? Nothing has ever happened like this,” he said. “From what the men said, I can see it’s racism.”

He said that the family have not had any trouble with people in the area before.

Gardaí arrived within minutes and all three victims were taken to hospital

“My son has bruising and cuts around his face and above his eye, but thankfully he seems to be okay,” he said.

His brothers are still in hospital. “ They don’t feel very well,” he said.

When asked if he and his family feel safe in Ireland, the man reluctantly shook his head and turned away to cry.

“I can’t believe this has happened. This is like a dream. I think it’s not happening but then I go to the hospital to my brothers, I see what they are going through, I see my son’s face and I know it’s real,” he said.

“We’re speaking out so hopefully this will not happen again.” he said. “We were happy to be here... Now I don’t know what to do, should I leave or stay.”

Gardaí are investigating the incident.

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty

Rachel Flaherty is Digital Features Editor and journalist with The Irish Times