Three people had acid thrown on them in two separate incidents over just a few hours in London, including a market stall vendor targeted by people “wearing burqas”.
Djamil Mogdad was preparing his clothes stall around at 6.40am on Friday morning at Walthamstow Market when he was “assaulted with a corrosive substance”, according to a Metropolitan Police spokesman.
“Officers and the London Fire Brigade attended. The man was taken to an east London hospital for treatment; his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening,” the spokesman added.
“It is alleged that the victim had been approached by two suspects, both wearing burkhas, and had the substance thrown at him before they fled in a waiting car.
“There have been no arrests and enquiries continue.”
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A binman who was at the scene and gave chase to the attackers said that he was “in the cafe having a cup of tea with the boys when Djamil ran in”.
He added: “He was shouting: ‘I have been attacked by acid.’ He knew it was acid straight away. I jumped up and… [went] out and I see two people running so I ran after them. They were covered in black burqas. All I could see is the back of them so I couldn’t tell if they were men or women.
“I got to the top of the road and I see them get in a car. They knew where the car was.”
“I managed to get the first three registration numbers but it was all so quick, and they sped off and that was it… The whole thing lasted around 30 seconds. Where the acid hit the pavement it was bubbling on the floor,” he added.
A fellow trader who said he has “spoken to [the victim’s] nephew who is in the hospital with him” appeared to confirm the burqa story, suggesting that “the way [the attackers] ran he said it was not like the way a lady runs it was like the way a man runs. So it was two people wearing ladies clothes.”
“They were waiting for him this morning. There was only a few stalls out and they went straight to him,” he said.
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Support for banning the burqa and the niqab — with the latter, more common, face veil often being erroneously referred to as the burqa, but different from it that it allows a narrow slit for the eyes, while the burqa obscures even these behind a fabric mesh — is high in Britain.
However, the garments have acquired something of a protected status after past comments by Tory leadership favourite Boris Johnson likening women who wear it to “bank robbers” or “letterboxes” were blown up into a so-called Islamophobia scandal — despite the fact that Johnson said he would not actually support banning the garment.
It has been banned in an increasing number of European states and regions, however, as well as several Muslim-majority countries, where it is viewed as not only a barrier to social cohesion and integration but as a threat to national security and public safety.
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