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Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Terrified family tormented by vandals' racist attacks

A family told today how they are living in fear of a gang of young racist thugs who have been laying siege to their home for months.

Abdur Rahim, 32, and his heavily-pregnant wife Nazama, who are originally from Bangladesh, have suffered a campaign of vandalism and harassment since the beginning of the year.

The gang throws stones, smashes windows and vandalises taxi driver Mr Rahim's car outside his Broomhouse home. In one of the latest incidents at the weekend, a stone crashed right through the window, leaving a golf ball-sized hole.

Police today confirmed they were treating the attacks as racially motivated and appealed for information as Mr Rahim said he was at a loss to explain why he was being targeted.

The couple, who have a seven-year-old daughter, have lived in Broomhouse Loan for ten years, but the problems only started in January when the gang of around five teenagers began to attack.

Mr Rahim said: "We've never done anything against them but they have suddenly taken exception to us being here, so I can only assume they have a problem with the fact that we're ethnic Asians.

"My family is originally from Bangladesh but my daughter is Scottish and my new baby will be Scottish as well.

"My neighbour is also Bangladeshi and he's had the same problems that I've had. We're the only two houses on the street that are being targeted by this gang so our ethnic origin is the only explanation for it.

"We just don't know what to do. There's a big hole in our window but when we replace it, it will only get smashed again."

Mr Rahim's car is also covered in chips, dents and scratches left by the vandals.

Mrs Rahim, 31, a John Lewis assistant, is expecting the couple's second child later this month and fears for the safety of their family. She said: "They've smashed our windows and scratched our car, and who knows what they could do next.

"I've recently been diagnosed with diabetes and, coupled with the pregnancy, I'm already under a lot of strain, but the added stress has made me fear for the safety of my unborn child.

"The atmosphere in the house over the last eight months has been terrible."

A police spokesman said they were following a "positive line of inquiry" over the attacks
He said: "We are currently working with our partner agencies to address this issue "Anyone with information that can assist us with our inquiries is asked to contact police immediately.
"Lothian and Borders Police will not tolerate racially- motivated crime."

Local councillor Eric Milligan, who sits on the police board, said he would be speaking to the chief constable to ensure that those responsible were prosecuted "to the full extent of the law".

He said: "Having been a member of the police board for many years now, I have been continuously impressed with how robustly the police deal with incidents such as this.

"We have made a lot of progress in community relations in recent years and reports of this kind have become increasingly rare.

"However, we cannot let this progress be spoiled by a few individuals, or allow their actions to besmirch the good name of Broomhouse."

News Scotsman