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Ahmed's story


What you need to know

This is Ahmed’s story, an example of how the homes of minority ethnic people can be vulnerable to racial attacks and the severe impact this can have on someone’s life. 

Ahmed Alzian had left his native Sudan for a new start in Northern Ireland in 2013. At first, his relocation started off well. He made new friends and, to help him integrate better as a new citizen, attended English lessons to improve his grasp of the language.

In October 2015 Ahmed arrived home to his house in Belfast and found two men robbing and ransacking it. He called out to a friend for help and they managed to take photos of the culprits as they fled.

When Ahmed went inside he was shocked at the devastation. “They had smashed up my home, stolen everything they could. They had damaged my Qu’ran which, as a Muslim, made me very angry and upset. I just couldn’t understand why anyone would want to attack me or my home - I had no enemies.”


To Ahmed’s shock, the men returned moments later and attacked both Ahmed and his friend with metal bars. They tried to get their phones to destroy the photos we had taken of them but they didn’t succeed. “We gave the photo evidence to the PSNI and reported the attack on my home and on us,” Ahmed said. However, he no longer felt safe there. “I had to pack up and leave,” he said. “I truly believe that these people targeted me and my home because of racism. They left me frightened and homeless because of my race, I can think of no other reason.”

Following the incident Ahmed had to move to hostel accommodation and was homeless until April 2016. Despite the incident, he has stayed in Belfast. He is happy in a new home and now is working full time at a job he likes.


Ahmed said: “I like to think of Northern Ireland as my home now, I like meeting new people here and I enjoy playing basketball. I just hope people see and accept me for being Ahmed the person and do not just see the colour of my skin.

Moira McCombe, Project Worker, Assisting People and Communities, NIACRO said: “The potential for psychological damage following a hate attack is substantial since it hits the part of us which wants to belong and can leave us feeling insecure and unsafe. Such an event also has the ability to damage part of our core identity which can leave feelings of hurt and anger.”



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