Hammersmith Man Attacks Muslim Cleric
Imam requires surgery after assault in Regent's Park
Sheikh Mohammad Al-Salamoni, a 58 year old Egyptian imam at the Regent's Park Mosque has had to have surgery following an assault by a man from Hammersmith.
Ryan Donegan, aged 40, has been charged with GBH and assaulting a police officer after the incident earlier this month. The cleric was punched numerous times in an assault which eye witnesses said last for up to 20 minutes and suffered heavy blood loss and injuries to both eyes. He was admitted to hospital for emergency surgery and was later transferred to a specialist eye hospital.
Police said they had an open mind over the motive for the attack and were actively pursuing all lines of inquiry. Chief Superintendent David Morgan said: "We have a close working relationship with worshippers and staff at the mosque and will continue to work together to offer reassurance to the community with extra patrols in and around the area."
A spokesperson for the mosque said that he believed the attack was religiously motivated and that they had been receiving threatening and insulting letters and e-mails. As a consequence they were considering hiring extra security.
The mosque's director general, Ahmad Al-Dubayan, said that he suspected the assault was religiously motivated. He added: "We are worried about Islamophobic feelings and racial attacks. I believe there has been an increase in Islamophobia. We have received threatening and insulting letters and emails."
Donegan was remanded in custody and is due to appear at Southwark Crown Court on 24th August.
August 23, 2007