THE boy who fled a Syrian warzone only to be repeatedly assaulted by British bullies has thanked protesters outside the school where he was attacked.
Police have charged a 16-year-old with assault after the teenager, named Jamal, was headbutted to the ground, grabbed by the throat and threatened with drowning in a video which has been seen more than 15million times.
The 15-year-old refugee — who survived three years of shelling in war-torn Homs — had a broken arm from a previous attack at the Huddersfield school.
‘Thanks for everything,’ he said to those gathered at the school gates yesterday. He and his father said they were happy to be photographed.
His alleged attacker, who has been excluded from Almondbury community school, yesterday claimed he was not a racist bully — despite reportedly sharing posts on Facebook supporting far-right activist Tommy Robinson, Britain First, and the English Defence League.
‘The incident was not racial as up to that time we had been on good terms,’ he said in a letter to The Sun. It was an isolated attack that followed ‘an altercation between us earlier that day’.
Around 30 protesters gathered at the school after footage emerged of a separate attack on Jamal’s 14-year-old sister. Other pupils ripped off her hijab and pushed her to the ground on Tuesday — the day Jamal’s video went viral.
‘I thought we were coming for sanctuary and safety,’ their father told the BBC. ‘But when I saw what happened to my children, I don’t know what to say.’
A GoFundMe appeal for the family has topped £130,000 as police launched a separate investigation into the attack on Jamal’s sister. Lawyer Mohammed Akunjee said the girl had tried to slash her wrists because of the bullies, adding the family would use the money raised to move away from Huddersfield.
He is considering bringing legal action against Mr Robinson after the EDL founder claimed Jamal had attacked a girl at the school — a claim denied by the girl’s mother.