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Mother and daughter left 'heartbroken' by vicious race assault

By This is Devon  |  Posted: June 17, 2010

Mother and daughter left 'heartbroken' by vicious race assault

Hayat Kaddouri Roddy

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RACISTS launched a vicious attack on a Muslim woman who was struck on the head and almost had her headscarf torn off.

They also hurled racial abuse at the mother and her young daughter as they walked through the city.

The shocking assault has been condemned by the city's Muslim community, along with religious leaders across Exeter.

Hayat Kaddouri Roddy, of Polsloe Road, Exeter, has spoken of the frightening attack in which she describes her attackers as "animals".

The 37-year-old was with her 13-year-old daughter Huda when the assault happened in Edmund Street, in the St David's area of Exeter, close to the subway, at around 12.30pm on Tuesday.

Both were wearing hijab head-dresses, and Hayat also had on a traditional Muslim jilbab — a long dress.

Moroccan-born Hayat, who has lived in the UK for 17 years and in Exeter for several years, and her daughter were stopped by two teenagers, a boy and girl aged around 17 to 18, who refused to let them pass.

They racially abused the woman before a man aged around 27 joined in the attack.

Police are investigating the incident and are appealing for witnesses to contact them.

Hayat said: "This couple stopped us and said they weren't going to let us pass. They said 'you don't belong to this country'.

"I kept really calm and there was a man behind me and I told him the couple wouldn't let me pass.

"I thought maybe he would be supportive and help but all of a sudden, he stopped next to me and hit me on the head and tried to pull off my headscarf.

"He didn't manage to pull it off completely but he really pulled it hard. And he was saying nasty words to me.

"I was very unhappy at what happened and said to the man what are you doing, are you an animal?

"About five minutes later, a couple came across the road and said they had seen what happened and were very sorry.

"I really appreciated that, they were very supportive."

Hayat said she had experienced a lot of racist abuse in the past but this was the first time she had been attacked.

"It has left me so worried for my daughter's safety," she said.

"I am heartbroken at the thought of her being attacked like that.

"This is my home too and I belong in this country.

"You should treat everybody with respect, it does not matter where you are from or what colour your skin is."

Imam Mohammed Abrar, of Exeter's Mosque, said: "The mosque condemn this attack in the strongest possible way — it is totally unacceptable.

"Exeter has been a very peaceful city and we have a good relationship with all faiths and those with no faiths."

Dr Adnan Al-Daini, of the Islamic Centre for the South West, based in Exeter, said: "This is a very upsetting incident.

"We have had some racist incidents in the past but nothing as serious as this.

"Muslims in Exeter want to lead a life of cooperation and mutual respect and something like this could cause problems between communities."

Martyn Goss, director of the Council for Church and Society of the Diocese of Exeter, said his thoughts were with the woman and her family.

He said: "This kind of incident is totally unacceptable in Exeter and in these particular circumstances, our hearts and thoughts go out to the woman and her family and the whole Islamic community."

And Bishop of Exeter the Right Reverend Michael Langrish said: "I was both shocked and saddened to hear of the attack on a Muslim women and her child in Exeter.

"Any attack on innocent people as a result of racial or religious prejudice, whether in Kyrgyzstan or in the UK, not only injures the individuals concerned, but deeply harms society as a whole.

"I am quite clear that there can be no justification for such behaviour which has no place in our society and in Exeter."

Fran Jenkin, chair of Exeter's Refugee Support Group and founder member of the Devon Equality Council, said: "I'm horrified at this attack.

"We sometimes get low level incidents of racism but not out and out physical attacks — this is very rare."

Investigating officer, PC Sarah Tong said she was keen to hear from witnesses who were in the area at the time of the attack.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information should contact police on 08452 777444 quoting crime reference DE/10/6136.

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    Jimmy, Exeter  |  June 21 2010, 9:21AM

    michael - why dont you let your wife out alone ? are you afraid that she is despises your victorian possessive attitude to women and most other things, that she'll run off and never come back ? if i was your wife, i sure would never come back !

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    Jimmy, Exeter  |  June 21 2010, 9:01AM

    Unfortunately, since the beginning of time, the mentally ill have always been a target of jokes made by those that class themselves as non-mentally ill. And in a secular society, anyone that hears voices in their head, believes in things that have never been proven to exist, eg. god, will be classed as mentally ill, hence the jokes. It will inevitably persist for the rest of eternity in some non violent form.

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    Tom, Exeter  |  June 21 2010, 4:36AM

    As a serviceman for over 20 years it disgusts me that these race hate crimes are becoming too common. We have a major problem dealing with Islamic fundermentalist in this country - This sort of thing just increases their cause.

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    michael, exmouth  |  June 19 2010, 6:36PM

    I dislike Muslims and Christians because most people all over the world are cruel and selfish. If that is not so, why are there so many deaths?

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    Steve, Exwick  |  June 19 2010, 12:43PM

    Be strong, and don't worry, most people are pretty decent. My best wishes to you and your Mum.

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    Huda, Exeter  |  June 19 2010, 11:35AM

    Im that 13 yr-old girl. Thanks steve, i've read your comments and im grateful to you for your understanding. people like mike dont understand fully what its like to be when you see ur mother attacked in front of you. we have lived outside Exeter in many different parts of the country and we have had racism before but nothing as bad as this. i was born in this country and i beleive that the uk is my home. if Mike had seen that happen to his mother in front of him, what would he say then? thank you very much again and i appreciate your understanding.

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    T A Griffin, Exeter, Devon, England  |  June 18 2010, 8:01AM

    Mr Average, I thought it brilliant as well. Maybe the company could use it, I mean with their camping equipment. The shop will now have men in rain coats wandering around, trying to find their proper equipment for a day in the country (sic) a kagool, a balaclava, and a tent which can be erected in a matter of seconds. This is what I like, the intelligent people who read the letters, and comments, of the people of Exeter. But in particular the letters and comments of a certain T A Griffin, thanks guys, you make it all worth while.

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    Mr Average, Exeter  |  June 17 2010, 11:55PM

    Steve, I was starting to get bored as I went through the comments, and then you you drop the Millets gag.............. Quality.....lmao (Sorry TA) was funny though!

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    michael, exmouth  |  June 17 2010, 7:38PM

    I am white born in Britain, my wife is Asian from Malaya and I never let her go out without me. The law allows me to use reasonable force if attacked. I wonder what reasonable means?

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    steve, Exwick  |  June 17 2010, 7:21PM

    I'm not entirely sure I understand your point TA - but Clash of Cultures? I reckon those cretins would fit right in with the religious police - ignorant cowards and bullies on the whole with no respect for anyone or anything else except their warped sense of values or "respect". And don't get me started on Millets.....

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