Muslim in Spalding horrified by racial abuse

Mohamed Abounawareg and his children.
Mohamed Abounawareg and his children.

A Muslim living in Spalding is calling on his right for freedom of speech to make a plea for his family to live in peace.

Mohamed Abounawareg (37) said he was walking to school with two of his step-children when a Polish man from his neighbourhood shouted after him, “Charlie, Charlie, Charlie.”

The journalism graduate who left Egypt for “a better life” in England eight years ago says he has been horrified by the racial abuse he has faced whilst living among the Polish community in Spalding.

But the latest incident last Thursday, following the atrocities in France where 17 people died in attacks by Islamist militant gunmen, has been too much for him to bear.

He said: “I felt threatened. My religion tells me to live in peace, even if people are nasty.

“What happened in France was by war tourists, nothing to do with me. I’m a victim of this situation. We shouldn’t be blamed for something we didn’t do.”

The incident was reported to the police who are “continuing to offer support”.

When half-Italian Mohamed moved to the UK, he retrained as a chef in Newmarket and was promoted to head chef in a move to a restaurant chain in Spalding.

He met his Polish Christian wife Milvia in Spalding and moved in with her and her two sons, Michael (9) and Romeo (7), five years ago. They now have a daughter, Omniyah (2), and a 13-month old son, Shadi.

Now studying English language at Boston College to gain his British Citizenship, after meeting his wife five years ago and settling down in the town, he says life is everything he dreamed of – except being able to live with respect.

He said: “When I heard the words ‘Charlie, Charlie, Charlie’ I felt threatened. I am not racist. I just want to live my life with respect. That is important to me.”

Insp Jim Tyner said: “We received an allegation of a religiously aggravated public order offence from a Muslim victim living in Spalding. This was investigated and a 51-year-old man was arrested the same day. There were no independent witnesses and the man was later released without charge. We are continuing to offer support to the victim.”