Two murders investigated as racist

Two murders investigated as racist


Written by: Harmit Athwal

In the recent furore about the murders of young people, it may have been overlooked that two look distinctly as though they were racially motivated.


On Sunday evening, 24 August 2008, 16-year-old Mohammed Al-Majed died in Kings College hospital in London after suffering brain damage two days earlier in an attack outside a Hastings kebab shop by a gang of White youth. Mohammed was a student from Qatar and had been in the UK only five weeks studying English at a local language school and was due to return home the following week.

The attack occurred after he and some friends left a social club for foreign students situated at a local kebab shop. The group were racially abused, called ‘Saddam Hussein’ and ‘Osama bin Laden’ and told to ‘f**k off you Arabs’, and then kicked, beaten and pelted with glass bottles. According to police, Mohammed fell and hit his head on the pavement suffering serious head injuries. They are seeking to establish if he fell or was assaulted, punched or pushed. In the same incident, 19-year-old Majid Al Ghannamah suffered a black eye and another unnamed boy suffered a head injury and needed six stitches.

The owner of the kebab shop has claimed that earlier in the evening he asked local police to keep an eye on a group of boys who had racially abused him and refused to leave the area around his shop. Less than an hour later Mohammed had been stabbed.

Sussex police have said that they are treating the attack as racially motivated and have urged witnesses to come forward. Three local men, a 17-, 18- and 20-year-old, have been arrested and released on bail pending further inquires. Another 18-year-old was also arrested and questioned.


On 16 August 2008, Nilanthan Murddi, a 17-year-old waiter working at the family restaurant, was stabbed to death in Croydon by a man who had earlier racially abused him.

Niloo, as he was known, was on a night out with friends when a passenger in a taxi stopped at traffic lights racially abused him and his friends, shouting ‘You f***ing P**i’. The man then returned to the scene half an hour later and a fight broke out in which Niloo was punched and then stabbed in his throat. He died at the scene. A post mortem later found that he died from a stab wound to the neck. A 30-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the attack and released on bail.

Related links

Read the IRR’s Factfile on the Racially Motivated Murders (Known or Suspected) 2000 onwards

Read the IRR’s Factfile on the Racially Motivated Murders (Known or Suspected) 1991-1999

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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