Malaysian student Ashraf Haziq will stay in London and says he “feels sorry” for the people who mugged him during riots earlier this week.
The mild mannered dignified 20-year-old overseas student said he was saddened by the attack on Monday when a group of thugs stole his bicycle, leaving him with a broken jaw.
“I feel sorry for them. But it was really sad because amongst them there were children,” he said.
“He was in primary school I think. It was quite shocking to me.”
Following the theft of his bike, he was helped to his feet by an apparent ‘Good Samaritan’ only to have his backpack rifled by a surrounding crowd. Video of the incident showing his phone and game console being taken, has been viewed by millions on YouTube and provoked widespread outrage. David Cameron described the incident as “disgusting”.
A man in his twenties was arrested on Thursday afternoon in connection with the attack on Ashraf.
‘I will stay in London‘
However, the injured student said despite his parents’ concerns, he was determined to stay in London.
“Britain is great. I will encourage people to come to London to study.
“I plan to finish my study here. And then I will return home in two years’ time.”
He described the efforts of genuine well-wishers to help him after the attack and thanked the British people for their support and donations.
“It was very nice of you to help me. I really appreciate it”.
But confessing that the attention had been overwhelming, he said “I’m just a normal person, I would like to go back to a normal life.”
The internet campaign to help Ashraf has already raised thousands of pounds.
Jamie Cowen, a former Save the Children worker, set up the website which enables people to donate money and vote on how it should be spent.
Options include “Paying for his family to come and visit Ashraf in hospital”, “Paying his student fees” and “Paying for his dental costs” to fix the tooth damage he sustained in the attack.
A number of businesses have also pledged donations to the student, including a bicycle from Bigfish bikes, and a PlayStation from Sony.
Mr Cowen promised that all donations will be spent on Ashraf.
“I give my word that the money that’s in there will be treated properly and it will go where it’s intended.”
“This is a chance for Britain to demonstrate they didn’t want to see these images flash around the world in their name. We’re a good bunch of people, by and large.” Source: Channel 4 News
One cannot help admire the quiet dignity and courage of this young Malaysian student. Immigration Matters wishes him well and good luck with his accountancy studies in London.
London is a safe city and a great place to study
The images of the so called riots which have been flashed around the world gave a distorted impression that the whole of London was burning down.
In reality, the disturbances were confined to a few pockets of London and amounted to a few hundred teenagers getting out of hand. Once the police decided to ‘get tough’ instead filming the looters things quickly calmed down.
The whole incident was sparked by a peaceful demonstration in Tottenham, north London, which escalated into criminal acts of looting spurred on by the use of social media such as Facebook and Blackberry messenger.
London is generally a safe cosmopolitan city for overseas workers and international students where, unlike Australia, no racist attacks on foreign students have taken place.
The hundreds of thousands of Tier 4 international students studying in the UK adds over £40 billion to the economy.
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