A media lecturer at Stratford College was set upon by a group of Muslim males and sent tumbling into a freezing canal while out jogging in Birmingham for, he believes, “being white” on January 15th.
The Stratford Observer reports that Lee Skinner was running along the canal side near Yardley Road, Acocks Green in the middle of the afternoon when one of the five-strong group suddenly struck him full force in the face, knocking him into the icy waters.
The Daily Mirror records how Skinner was “able to identify them as Pakistani as I’ve worked in Muslim communities and have a detailed knowledge of Islam and speak Arabic to a certain level”.
The slightly-built lecturer described how the blow sent him “up into the air and into the water. I sank and was completely submerged, my feet were not touching the bottom.”
Skinner was not knocked completely unconscious and drowned, fortunately, but a police spokesman said he was “prevented from getting out by his assailant”.
Only after the quick-thinking linguist cried out “There is no God but Allah” in Arabic did his attackers panic and flee the scene, possibly suspecting they may have assaulted a fellow Muslim. He was then able to heave himself out of the frigid waters, but cut his legs badly while doing so.
Skinner caught up to four of the group, though not his principal aggressor, who told him “the attack happened because I was white”.
The 38 year-old then warned group “that in the current political climate, such actions could have a negative effect on the Muslim Pakistani community” and lectured them on “the positive aspects of Mohammed and Islam”.
Skinner lost his phone, keys, glasses and a memory stick where his college lessons were saved, and had to be treated in hospital for damage to his cheekbone, teeth and neck muscles.