Saturday 23 September 2017

'They called me a 'P**i b****rd', torched my brother's car and smashed our windows' - Taxi driver on why he is fleeing Dublin home

Exclusive: Athar Ijaz says they have been subjected to eight 'racist' attacks

Athar Ijaz (inset) and the most recent attack on his home
Athar Ijaz (inset) and the most recent attack on his home
Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

A Pakistani taxi driver has told how he, his brother and sister-in-law have been forced to flee their west Dublin home after they were subjected to eight separate "racially motivated" attacks.

Athar Ijaz (36) told Independent.ie that they have been living in their Clondalkin home since December 2006 without any problem.

However, he claims an interaction with a group of youths 12 months ago has sparked a series of attacks on their home and cars.

Exclusive footage, obtained by Independent.ie, shows two of these unprovoked attacks over the last number of months.

In the most recent incident, on August 27, the front window of their modest home was smashed in by a man with a large stone.

Now Mr Ijaz says they have been "left with no option" but to flee their home.

"I definitely think this is racist because they have called me a 'P**i b****rd'. We are on a street with 20 to 25 homes and nobody is being attacked except for us," he said.

"It's a very scary situation for all of us. My brother's wife was alone when the last attack happened and she wants us to move out somewhere else.

Athar Ijaz says they lived in his Dublin home without incident for ten years
Athar Ijaz says they lived in his Dublin home without incident for ten years

"We know renting is a huge problem in Dublin and finding a place is impossible but we know that if we don't move then something worse might happen."

Mr Ijaz, who asked that we not reveal his home address, explained that the abuse began after one minor incident in August 2016.

He was walking through a nearby park when a number of young men started taunting him.

"These young lads were shouting at me 'you f**king P**i b****rd' and they started throwing stones at me."

The taxi driver walked a short distance away and began taking pictures of the youths on his phone. He claimed that this irritated the group further and they approached him, took his phone and began deleting the photos.

They were right in my face and they were grabbing me. There were a lot of people watching this happen but nobody intervened.

"Eventually they gave me my phone back and I started walking back towards my home but two lads followed me."

Mr Ijaz believed that this was an isolated incident but two weeks later a football was kicked at his car.

The attacks escalated from here.

Around a month after the initial park incident the door of his home was smashed open. "I tried to chase them but they ran. After a few days I reported this to the guards."

Mr Ijaz explained that a window on his brother's' car, a Toyota Yaris, was smashed towards the end of last year. The brothers travelled home to Pakistan in December and returned in the new year to discover that a second car window had been broken.

And, in February, the vehicle was set on fire outside their west Dublin home. Footage shows fire officers attempting to put out the blaze. Mr Ijaz added that window of their home was broken in this same incident.

His brother bought a second car, another Toyota Yaris, and just a few weeks later the back windscreen was smashed in yet another "targeted attack".

Frustrated and desperate the brothers installed two CCTV cameras on their home in the hope that it would deter their tormentors.

And it did, for two months anyway.

"Things were calming down. We were thinking that the CCTV cameras had deterred them."

But, on August 27, one man launched an outrageous attack on their home. Footage of the incident shows the male, dressed in a white t-shirt and dark trousers, launch a large pillar stone through the front window of the house. 

The incident happened in the early hours of the morning, around the same time as the Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather fight.

His brother's wife was home alone at the time and she explained that she feared for her safety in the incident.

Another clip shows a group of people throwing something in the driveway of the house before fleeing.

The residents say they have been the target of eight separate attacks and have reported at least five of these to local gardaí. Mr Ijaz said he has handed over camera footage to officers in Clondalkin but, to date, nobody has been arrested.

Gardaí confirmed that they are investigating this latest incident and all others reported to them.

A garda spokesman said: "We would urge any member of the public who is the victim of a crime to report it to gardai."

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