Gardaí are probing an alleged racist attack in Limerick, in which two Muslim asylum seekers were assaulted while on their way to mosque prayers.
Officers at Henry Street are appealing for information around the incident, which occurred on the first night of Ramadan.
The attack saw three men lie in wait for the pair, aged in their 30s and 40s, behind a tree, before ambushing them as they walked down Henry Street towards the Al Furqan Mosque on Windmill Street, Limerick City Centre.
The two men were hospitalised afterwards, with officers in Henry Street garda station launching an investigation.
Local Fianna Fáil election candidate Abul Kalam Azad Talukder said the Muslim community in Limerick has been left “angry” and “worried” following the unprovoked attack, which he said they believe is “racist”.
Mr Talukder, who is supporting the pair, confirmed three men – white, and believed to be of Irish origin – started kickboxing the pair, as they attended the start of Ramadan, which is considered the most sacred month in the Muslim calendar.
“There were three people lying in wait for them, and as they passed, they came straight for them. They were obviously very worried, and many people from our community are also angry and worried by this. Some people don’t know what to do. There are lot of different reactions from different people,” he told the Limerick Leader.
Following the attack, Mr Taulkder said two Irish men who were nearby came to their aid and accompanied them to Henry Street garda station, before they were treated at University Hospital Limerick.
The election candidate, who has lived in Limerick for the last 20 years, acknowledges it is just a “small minority” of people carrying out attacks.
“Some Irish people immediately went to help them which said a lot. This is very good that they would help them. It shows Limerick is good and it’s only a minority of people who are bad,” he said.
But the man who is hoping to be the first Muslim elected to Limerick City and County Council said his community do feel targeted.
He said: “I know some other people, some Muslim women were attacked a month ago in the People’s Park, so there is real fear there. The community is worried, they are stressed and they are angry. They don’t know what to do. That want to know: why is it happening to us?”
In a statement, a Garda spokesperson said: “Two males in their 30s and 40s alleged they were assaulted by three males. Both males were taken to hospital for minor injuries”.
“No arrests have been made, and investigations are ongoing,” the spokesperson added.
Anyone with information has been asked to contact Henry Street garda station at 061-204222.