Monday, May 22, 2006

Rabbi hurt in race attack

Rabbi Alan Shelton

A religious leader has told how a racist teenage gang attacked him like a "pack of hyenas."

Rabbi Alan Shelton, 58, of Clapton Common, Upper Clapton, was punched to the ground and kicked by up to 15 yobs.

They took off his religious headgear and threw it to the floor during the ferocious attack in Craven Park Road, Stamford Hill.

"It happened so quickly," said rabbi Shelton. "I was walking home alone when 15 youths turned the corner and crossed over the road towards me.

"I did not run because nothing like this has happened to me before, but suddenly fists were flying and three or four of them pushed me over.

"I was lying on the floor and they were kicking me. They were like hyenas surrounding me in the dark."

Rabbi Shelton was walking home last Friday after having a meal with friends in Tottenham.

The teenagers, aged between 15 and 17 years old, attacked him at around 11.25pm. No arrests have been made.

An ambulance crew took Rabbi Shelton to Homerton University Hospital, where he was treated for a broken collarbone and severe bruising.

Haringey police are investigating the incident, which took place on the borough border.

A spokesman said: "We are treating this as a racially motivated attack and we are appealing for any witnesses to come forward."

Stamford Hill has one of the largest Hasidic Jewish populations in Europe. The men wear distinctive long black cloaks and black fur hats.

Mark Gardner, the director of communications for the Community Security Trust, a charity which helps people affected by anti-Semitism, said the organisation was "extremely disturbed" by such a "frightening and unprovoked" attack.

"We are working closely with the police to ensure the perpetrators are caught and the Jewish community can continue to go about its way of life in Stamford Hill freely and without fear," he said.

Meanwhile, Rabbi Shelton is recovering at home. "The trauma of the incident has not yet come out because I am in so much pain," he said.

He believes CCTV cameras should be installed at the entrances to Springfield Park in Upper Clapton to deter criminals using the green space as an escape route.


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