A man on his way home from the pro-Palestine march on Remembrance Day was brutally attacked by a group of men who afterwards had to have his teeth reinserted.
Last weekend, hundreds of thousands of people marched for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Charities have reported a rise in Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism in the UK since the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7.
People criticised the recent pro-Palestine protest in London as it coincided with Armistice Day. This included the former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who wanted to prevent the protest from happening entirely.
Following Braverman’s stance, people were angered, and it led to a counterprotest where hundreds of far-right supporters and football hooligans who were angered by the pro-Palestine protest descended upon Whitehall to “defend” the Cenotaph. Violence broke out, and counter-protestors hurled crowd control barriers and missiles at the police.
Kadri Mahmoud, 33, was one of the attendees of the pro-Palestine protest. He described that protest as “peaceful” despite the counterprotest. “Everyone felt really safe,” Mahmoud said, “and it was such a lovely day.”
Mahmoud attended the protests so far to voice his support for a ceasefire. “A lot of lives have been lost, and I think it’s overdue.”
“I think it will help the suffering of both sides of this conflict,” said Mahmoud.
On Mahmoud’s walk from Bethnal Green station, his day turned as a group of men approached him because he was carrying the Palestinian flag. He said their first question was what country the flag represented once he told them they claimed it was illegal. Mahmoud said he explained there had been a protest he attended and that he was going home.
“There’s nothing controversial about a flag; it represents a call for peace, and I could tell my answer didn’t really satisfy him,” Mahmoud said.
The exchange became heated after Mahmoud posed a hypothetical scenario about wearing an England flag and how that wouldn’t pose any offence.
“This I felt was a turning point,” Mahmoud said, “in which he replied, it’s not an England flag, it’s a f**king Union Jack.” The men began swearing at him, backed him onto a wall, and had a phone in his face with the flash on to film him. “If you think that a few white men are going to tell someone who’s protesting for peace what to do, there is no chance you’re going to get this flag from me,” Mahmoud said to the men. He said he has owned the Palestine flag for years and didn’t want to lose it. That is when everything went black. The next moment he remembers is being on the ground with blood pouring out of his mouth.
‘Humanity restored itself’
A man stepped in and chased away the group of attackers. Mahmoud was taken into a nearby cafe and realised he needed to find the teeth that were knocked out during the fight. He stepped out with several other witnesses, including the man who saved him, and eventually found his teeth.
His hero, Mohammed Sufiyan, has been a dentist for two years and was the perfect person to save his teeth.
Sufiyan said he went over to de-escalate the argument as he saw no one stepping in to help Kadri, who was outnumbered, but a man unexpectedly punched Kadri, which is when his teeth fell out.
“Honestly, this is where humanity restored itself in a flash. We have the off-licence owner, a lovely Muslim man who comes out with a jar of milk to put the teeth in milk,” Mahmoud said.
Mahmoud ended up having his teeth reinserted in the back of a police car by him and a video of this moment later went viral on Instagram.
“As I put his teeth in within 20 minutes it massively increases the chance of his teeth being saved, significantly,” said the dentist.
Sufiyan went to the hospital with Mahmoud and a member of the police. He said he spoke with the maxillofacial doctor, who put a splint in Mahmoud’s jaw. Mahmoud is due to have a root canal and have his splint removed by a dentist.
Are hate crimes on the rise?
The attack on Mahmoud follows a global trend of an increase in hate crimes following the Israel-Gaza conflict that started in October. Charities have been assisting people who have become victims of islamophobia and antisemitism.
There has been an increase in both hate crimes. The Community Service Trust, which monitors anti-semitic attacks, said following the October 7 Hamas attack, in just 32 days, they recorded 1,124 incidents of antisemitism.
Tell Mama, a charity that measures anti-Muslim hate, said that there has been a “six-fold increase” when comparing the two weeks following the October attack to the same weeks in 2022. They said there were 291 instances of anti-Muslim hatred in London.