Nurse targeted by racist abuse in bar after EU leave vote.
Byline: SHEENA MCSTRAVICK
A PALESTINIAN who has lived in Northern Ireland for 15 years has told how he was racially abused during a night out in the wake of the Brexit vote.
Mohammed Samaana, a nurse in a Belfast hospital and member of Belfast's Amnesty International group, was verbally attacked in a city centre bar.
The 41-year-old said: "On Saturday night, a man I have never met before said to me, 'You from the EU? F**k off back to your country. Get the f**k out of our country'.
"At first I thought he was joking, but then he continued the abuse and started shaking his fists at me.
"At that point I decided it was better to leave rather than have the incident escalate."
Mr Samaana, who is a dual Palestinian-UK citizen, continued: "What makes me really sad is that the three men and three women who were with him didn't say a word, condoning his racism by their silence.
"I think everyone now needs to speak out and challenge racism wherever and whenever we see it."
CONDONING Amnesty's Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan said: "This racist verbal attack in a busy bar is just the latest reported incident of its type across the country.
"Bigotry and xenophobia existed before this referendum, but it feels like racists now think it is open season to attack people of a different nationality, accent or skin colour.
"When politicians fuel racist thinking we should not be wholly surprised when some people feel they have been given a license to act on their prejudices.
"Society must not stand idly by while migrants and people from minority ethnic communities feel fearful for their safety and their future.
"After a nasty referendum campaign politicians must deliver action, not merely words, to reassure everyone they can feel secure and welcome here.
"Amnesty calls on Northern Ireland's political representatives, in councils and in the Assembly, to do all in their power to stand against hate."
Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein yesterday spoke out over xenophobia in the UK.
He said: "I am deeply concerned at reports of attacks and abuses targeting minority communities and foreign citizens over the last few days. Racism and xenophobia are completely, totally and utterly unacceptable in any circumstances.
"I urge the UK authorities to ensure those suspected of racist and anti-foreigner attacks and abuses are prosecuted."
SHOCKED & SADDENED Mohammed Samaana