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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 December 2018

Thousands raised for Syrian refugee waterboarded by school bully

A video of the 16 year old being waterboarded by a bully went viral on Twitter

A 16-year-old boy has been questioned by police over the matter. EPA/NEIL HALL
A 16-year-old boy has been questioned by police over the matter. EPA/NEIL HALL

A Syrian refugee in the UK who was caught on camera being bullied has received a huge outpouring of support, with online campaigners raising more than £50,000 to support his family.

The video shows the 15-year-old boy – a student at Almondbury Community School in Huddersfield - being held down and ‘waterboarded’ by a bully. The attacker threatens to drown Jamal, before forcefully pouring water down his neck.

The video of the incident, which reportedly took place on the 25th October, was retweeted more than 65,000 times, with the bully receiving widespread condemnation from an array of public figures.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said the bullying has kept him awake at night and made him feel "unsafe".

"When I saw everyone looking at this video I felt ashamed of myself and why it happened. I was really upset about that," he told ITV News.

He also said he had tried to contact the authorities about his predicament. "I was following the law, trying to be safe, and none of that happened," he said.

"I was trying to call our council to help us, but they didn't. I was trying to tell the police, they didn't listen to me either."

West Yorkshire Police said a youth had been called to the police station on suspicion of the attack. "A 16-year-old youth has been interviewed and reported for summons, for an offence of assault. He will appear at Youth Court in due course," a statement read.

They had previously confirmed they were looking into the incident, a racially-aggravated assault of a 15-year-old boy which occurred on playing fields at Almondbury Community School at about 1pm on October 25.

The public outcry attracted the attention of Mohammed Tahir, who set up a crowdfunding account on the website GoFundMe. As of Wednesday morning, the account has raised more than £50,000 from more than 3,000 donors.

Mr Tahir said: "I’m overwhelmed by the support that we’ve received and I can’t thank everyone enough for the generous donations they have made.

"I am working alongside GoFundMe so we can make sure every last penny gets to the family and I want to thank them for their support.

"I hope we can improve the quality of their life and put a smile on their faces.

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"Bullying will not be tolerated, and I firmly stand against it. It has no place in our society, our love will always overcome hate. We are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”

Reports indicate that Jamal arrived in Britain from Syria around two years ago.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood labelled the incident an “absolute disgrace”.

He added, “This bully, his parents, the school where this occurs and the onlookers who fail to step in, all have big questions to answer.

“To the Syrian refugee - I say sorry. It’s not the welcoming, friendly Britain we are supposed to be.”

Local MP Barry Sherman said that the local council had informed him that the school had taken strong action against the perpetrator.

“Video of assault against one of my constituents absolutely shocking.

"Have been supporting the family since it was first brought to my attention,” he added.

"Understand from council that the school have taken strong action. Will be following up to ensure all available support is being given!"