Last Saturday, around four in the morning, Salah, a French man of Algerian origin, went out with some friends through the center of Madrid. Back home, while he was waiting to pick up his order at the entrance of a fast food restaurant in Atocha, two men he did not know approached him, he details. “Do you believe in Allah?” One of them asked, according to his account. “I said no, but suddenly he punched me,” Salah tells elDiario.es, who has denounced the events.
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The 47-year-old Frenchman explains how after the blow he tried to defend himself by pushing and kicking the young man to prevent him from approaching again. “My reflex was not to touch my face anymore,” he says, since five months ago he suffered a fracture to his face as a result of a run over and it is a sensitive area for him. “I don’t know how, but we both ended up on the ground,” he says.
When he managed to get up and enter the restaurant, the only help he received was some napkins to wipe his bloody nose. “Then I saw that there were three men outside and they were calling me out,” says Salah, who refused to leave the premises. Finally, the three young men, around 25 years old and Spanish, marched in a taxi.
When the police arrived, alerted by the staff of the premises, they told him that “there was nothing they could do” and that he had to file a complaint. They also did not provide him with an ambulance and he had to travel to the hospital, he explains.
Salah, who has lived in Spain for 17 years, affirms that “there have always been derogatory looks, gestures or comments”, but it had never reached physical aggression. “I do not understand how people do things like that,” he says. Days after the incident He went back to the restaurant to ask if they had security cameras that could facilitate the search of the young people. He also wants to go ask the Kapital Discoteca, where he thinks the men came from, to see if they have a record of the people who were there That night, he feels “surprised” and “frustrated” by what happened, but he is trying to ensure that these events do not go unpunished.
In the complaint, filed the day after the event and to which elDiario.es has had access, it is specified that the aggressor was “of normal complexion, about 25 years old, long hair and Spanish” and that Salah could recognize him if he returned. Let’s see why “he wasn’t wearing a mask.” It is also recorded that when Salah entered the restaurant again “the individual who attacked him, from the outside, provoked and encouraged him to continue.” In addition, the two men who were there at first “are joined by a third who was crossing the street.”
Increase in hate crimes
In 2019, the last year for which data are available, crimes and hate incidents registered by the State Security Forces and Bodies amounted to 1,706, 6.8% more than the previous year. According a survey by the Ministry of the Interior carried out this year, 34.1% of those interviewed stated that they had been victims of aggression for discriminatory reasons. Only 5.95% say they have not received any offensive comments or gestures in person and more than half (54.69%) say they have received threats of a violent nature.
Furthermore, crimes of discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin are underreported. A study of the Council for the Elimination of Racial or Ethnic Discrimination (CEDRE) indicates that in 2020 only 18.2% of people who experienced a discriminatory situation presented a complaint, claim or complaint.
Last July, SOS Racism also noted in a study that Muslims “have become a scapegoat and have been listed as the greatest danger to national security” and that the current anti-terrorism legislative framework was a “form of structured Islamophobia. institutional”.