A Palestinian man in England said he was beaten by a group of men after he wished them a merry Christmas.
Ihsan Abualrob, 27, was allegedly attacked on the street by three men near a pub in Framwellgate Moor in Durham, according to The Northern Echo. The attack is reported to have taken place around 8:40 p.m. on Dec. 24.
Police confirmed that two men had been arrested in relation to the attack on suspicion of racially or religiously aggravated assault.
Abualrob, who is pursuing a master's degree in politics and international relations at Durham University, said he believed the attack was motivated by his being Muslim.
"At one point I lost consciousness," recalled the victim. "I was helpless and thought this was the end of it."
Abualrob also described a number of injuries he reportedly sustained from the attack. He was taken to the University Hospital of North Durham with minor injuries after the incident.
"I have bruises on my face, my knee is badly injured and above all, I have a bad concussion. I am dizzy and with a terrible headache and have blurred vision," said the victim. “My heart is broken and I am emotionally overwhelmed. I wished them a merry Christmas and they, instead of doing the same, attacked me."
Police confirmed that officers were called to respond to an assault outside of the Happy Wanderer pub.
"One man was taken to University Hospital North Durham with minor injuries," said a police spokesman. "A 49-year-old man and a 23-year-old have been arrested on suspicion of racially or religiously aggravated assault with injury."
According to Abualrob, he had been at the pub that night with a friend to play pool, but they found that the pool table was covered.
"We don't drink and were sitting there chatting when out of the blue a British guy approached us, pulled up a chair uninvited and asked where we were from," recalled Abualrob. "My friends said from Egypt and myself from Palestine. [The man] said: 'Egypt, Palestine. You Muslims. Are you suicide bombers?'"
Abualrob and his friend left, but he said there were three men waiting outside of the pub for them.
"They started insulting my religion," said Abualrob. "I said, 'Merry Christmas, enjoy your holiday,' and didn't say any more."
As Abualrob and his friend crossed the street, the men followed them, he said.
"One of them threw an empty glass towards us. Then one of them lunged at me and punched me on my left cheek and I fell to the ground," recounted Abualrob. "Then three of them started kicking me in the head, shoulders and body. I grabbed my head in my arms trying to protect my face."
"I managed to get away and tried to get into the bar for protection," he added. "Because I was so dizzy I fell in front of the pub."
"It was so scary and frightening," said Abualrob. “I felt not only in pain but humiliated. I come from Palestine, which is a very conflicted country, and I came here with the hope of having a peaceful life not having to live in fear."
“It’s my first Christmas ever outside of my country and that is my Christmas treat? They did this for nothing, but for me being a Muslim in this country," added Abualrob, according to the New York Post. "Christmas should be a time of love and hope, not violence."