'˜Don't send Shabaz back to hostel' say Syrian campaigners after attack

A homelessness charity is calling for the family of a Syrian refugee badly hurt in an alleged attack to be rehoused 'as a matter of urgency'.

Thursday, 10th May 2018, 6:00 am

Shabaz Ali, 25, was left in hospital with serious wounds after being injured at a hostel on Upper Gilmour Place last Thursday.

A 17-year-old man has since been charged and appeared in court on Friday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court over the incident.

The refugee and migrant homelessness charity Positive Action in Housing has raised a case on behalf of Shabaz and his father Sivan, who had been staying in separate hostels for over a month prior to the incident.

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Charity director Robina Qureshi said: “We are asking the Housing Convener to escalate this case as a matter of urgency and personally ensure the family are provided with safe accommodation.

“It is a good thing to welcome refugees, however the council must ensure they help refugees to resettle safety.

“What we cannot do is hide and pretend this is not happening.

“Refugee and migrant families are suffering – and it’s up to the authorities to stand up for their rights.”

In the last five days, more than £8,000 has been raised for Shabaz and his family after the charity set up a crowdfunding campaign.

The family sought refuge in Edinburgh after fleeing Northern Syria five years ago. Shabaz’s mother remains in Syria caring for older relatives.

Sivan, who told the Evening News he has not left his son’s side since the incident, has welcomed the messages of solidarity from people all over the country.

The Stand Up to Racism campaign group has called a protest in Tollcross at 5.30pm this evening.

A large number are expected to turn out in solidarity with the family and “to say refugees and migrants are welcome”.

Council Leader Adam McVey, said: “I am fully aware that this has been an extremely distressing time for the family.

“We have been working closely with them to ensure that safe housing is made available where it has been requested as well as discussing with Positive Action in Housing appropriate support going forward.”

Anyone with information which may be able to help police over last week’s incident can contact Gayfield CID via 101.