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for August 2010
Mother and daughter left 'heartbroken'
by vicious race assault
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
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".
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.
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
"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
"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
Hayat said she had experienced a lot of racist
abuse in the past but this was the first time
she had been attacked.
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
treat everybody with respect, it does not matter
where you are from or what colour your skin is."
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
"We have had some racist incidents in the past
but nothing as serious as this.
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
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
"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 behavior which has no place in our society
and in Exeter."
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
Investigating officer, PC Sarah Tong said she
was keen to hear from witnesses who were in the
area at the time of the attack.
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