‘How can this still be going on?’ Home Secretary Sajid Javid reveals he was targeted by racist bullies at school like ‘waterboarded’ Syrian refugee
- Sajid Javid has spoken of ‘absolute outrage’ at bullying of young Syrian refugee
- Home Secretary said it brought ‘memories flooding back’ of his own childhood
- Said he suffered racist attack at age 11 and questioned how it could still happen
Sajid Javid today spoke of his fury at the bullying of a young Syrian refugee – revealed he was personally targeted by racist bullies.
The Home Secretary said the video of the notorious attack on Jamal, which sparked a public outcry, left him absolutely ‘outraged’.
The 15-year-old was pinned down and ‘waterboarded’ by a bigger child at Almondbury Community School in the footage.
Mr Javid said today that seeing the assault brought ‘memories flooding back’ from his own schooldays in Bristol, when he was attacked for being Asian.
He said he had sent a personal letter and hoped to meet Jamal and his family for a ‘cup of tea’ at some stage.
Jamal, 15, was pinned down and ‘waterboarded’ by a bigger child at Almondbury Community School in the footage that went viral
Home Secretary Sajid Javid (pictured) said the response of the British public had showed the country’s true nature.
‘It reminded me of an incident I had when I was at school,’ Mr Javid told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
‘I hated it.
‘When I was 11 I had just started my comprehensive school.
‘Those memories flooded back to me.’
He added: ‘How can this kind of thing still be going on?
But Mr Javid, a second generation immigrant whose family came from Pakistan, said the response of the British public had showed the country’s true nature. ‘The general population was outraged,’ he said. ‘That says something really important about us as people.’
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Jamal’s family fled their home after being caught up in the civil war and spent six years as refugees in Lebanon before coming to the UK under a UN programme in 2016.
But both Jamal and his 13-year-old sister have suffered separate attacks. He said in a TV interview that bullies had made their lives a misery – but also urged people not to retaliate. ‘I was feeling unsafe everywhere. I woke up at night and just started crying,’ he said.
Shocked members of the public have donated more than £130,000 to help give the family a fresh start.
They are said to be hoping to use the funds from the appeal to move away from Huddersfield.
Mr Javid has previously spoken of his tough experiences at Downend School on the outskirts of Bristol.
In 2014 he revealed he had once got into a fight with a racist pupil who called him ‘Paki’. The boy was expelled, but Mr Javid said he bumped into him 10 years later.
‘I bumped into him in a shopping centre lift. He said: “Sajid isn’t it? I’m sorry for what I did,” and we shook hands.’
Mr Javid (pictured as a schoolboy) has previously spoken of his tough experiences at Downend School on the outskirts of Bristol
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