‘We were called Israeli as an insult’ say Iranian dissidents attacked in north London

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‘We were called Israeli as an insult’ say Iranian dissidents attacked in north London

EXCLUSIVE: Bahar and Navid were part of small group protesting at memorial ceremony honouring late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

Navid at a pro-Israel rally, Westminster. Pic: NIaz Maleknia
Navid at a pro-Israel rally, Westminster. Pic: NIaz Maleknia

Two young Iranian dissidents who were violently attacked outside a community centre mourning the death of Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi have told Jewish News their attackers called them ‘Israeli’ as a term of insult. 

Navid, 32 and Bahar, 24 were part of a small group of 7 gathered outside of the Dewan Al-Kafeel Community Centre in Wembley, London, on Friday 24th May.

Waving Iranian flags, they were celebrating the death of Raisi, known as the ‘Butcher of Tehran’ when attacked by a group of loyal supporters of the Islamic Republic.

Navid, speaking to Jewish News from his hospital bed, said his attackers recognised him from his attendance alongside the Jewish community at vigils in support of Israel and the return of the hostages held by Hamas.

Iranian Jewish activist and photojournalist Niaz Maleknia said that their calling him ‘Israeli’ was akin to saying he ‘was dead’. Knocked unconscious, Navid was seriously injured and doctors are assessing whether he needs spinal surgery. Bahar has told Jewish News that she was sexually assaulted during the attack.

Navid, speaking to Jewish News from hospital on Monday 27th May 2024.

Witnesses heard her calling for her mother whilst she was viciously beaten.

Both dissidents say their resolve to support Israel and the Jewish community remains undiminished.

Navid, who remains in hospital after five nights, said: “We are all responsible for defeating this terror. We (Jews and Iranians) have a long history. We stand together.”

Speaking on behalf of the Iranian community who remain committed to supporting Israel, Niaz Maleknia told Jewish News: “The Jews and Iranians have a centuries old affinity to each other. In order for the Middle East to have peace, and for there to peace within that region, we need the world to support the people of Iran and Israel, for the removal of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regime and for the Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi to return and to bring stability within that region.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “At 18:21hrs on Friday, 24 May officers were called to Alperton Lane, Wembley following reports of disorder.

Navid being treated by paramedics. Wembley on Friday 24th May 2024. Pic: Niaz Maleknia

“An event was taking place to mark the death of the President of Iran, attended by supporters of the Iranian government. Anti-government protesters had gathered outside the venue and clashes had broken out between the groups. Local officers attended, supported by resources from elsewhere in the Met. Paramedics from the London Ambulance Service were also deployed.

“Four people were injured and were treated by paramedics. Their injuries are not believed to be either life threatening or life changing. A dispersal order was implemented, requiring those involved to leave the area.

Screenshot: Bahar being attacked.

“One man was arrested on suspicion of violent disorder. Further enquiries will now follow to establish what further offences took place and to identify those involved. This will include an examination of footage shared on social media.

“Anyone with other footage or information is encouraged to call 101, to message @MetCC or to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 with the reference 6379/24MAY.”

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