Muslim woman hit by car in Leicester was hate crime victim, police say

Man charged with attempted murder and with attempted GBH for separate incident in which car was driven at 12-year-old


A Muslim woman who suffered serious injuries after being struck by a car was the alleged victim of a hate crime, the Guardian has learned.

The woman, Zaynab Hussein, 47, is still in hospital more than five weeks after the attack. Police allege the car driver intended to kill her, and also struck a child in the area.

It is one of the worst crimes in the recent upsurge of attacks suffered by Britain’s Muslim and ethnic minority communities.

The incident happened in Leicester on Wednesday, 20 September as Hussein returned from taking her children to school.

A man has been charged with attempted murder over the incident and with attempted grievous bodily harm for an incident where a car was driven that same morning at a 12-year-old girl. The child was struck by the car but police say she did not suffer any visible injuries.

Police say both incidents are being treated as hate crimes and as deliberate acts.

Diis Barre, Hussein’s husband, praised paramedics and medical staff for saving his wife’s life but said: “Why would anybody attack my innocent wife who was going about her daily business?”

Hussein suffered broken limbs, extensive cuts and has required skin grafts. The attack happened in the Beaumont Leys area of Leicester.

Leicestershire police and the Crown Prosecution Service say they are treating both incidents as hate crimes on religious and racial grounds. They are being linked and were allegedly deliberate.

It is the second alleged vehicle attack directed against Muslims this year in Britain. In June a man was killed after a man drove a van into worshippers near to the Finsbury Park mosque in north London.

In that case the Metropolitan police classed it as a terrorist incident. A man has been charged with murder over the Finsbury Park attack.

The attack has shocked local communities in Leicester. Dr Shazad Amin, of Mend, a Muslim campaigning group, said: “The whole community is shocked by this senseless, unprovoked attack. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and we hope she makes a full recovery”.

A Leicester man faces criminal charges over the attacks. He was detained shortly after them and charged the next day. He can not be named for legal reasons.

Leicestershire police declined further comment on the basis that strict contempt of court rules apply which limit the details they can release.

In a statement announcing the charges, Leicestershire police said: “A man has been charged following two road traffic collisions yesterday in Leicester.

“[The suspect] has been charged with attempted murder, attempted grievous bodily harm with intent, dangerous driving and driving with alcohol above the limit.”

“The attempted murder charge relates to an incident yesterday [Wednesday, 20 September] when a vehicle collided with a pedestrian, a woman in her forties, on Acer Close at the junction with Butterwick Drive. She remains in hospital in a serious condition.

“The GBH charge relates to a separate collision which happened in Butterwick Drive when a vehicle collided with a pedestrian, a 12-year-old girl. She didn’t receive any visible injuries.”

The suspect is due to next appear at Leicester crown court on 10 November.

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