Sympathy and Support for Qatari student killed in the UK

A 16-year-old Qatari student visiting Britain died as a result of head injuries sustained when he was attacked by local youth. Mohamed Al-Majed was in Hastings, East Sussex, attending an English language course. The circumstances of the death are still under investigation but the police “are treating his death as a murder inquiry, and are investigating it as racially motivated at this time.”

Reactions out of Qatar have been strong. The Al-Majed family has called for justice and his father told the Hasting Observer that “…justice has to be done in all this investigation. All of those involved in committing this crime on a young, innocent 16-year-old boy should be punished.”

Doctora translated and posted a cartoon that was published on 28 August in the Al-Raya newspaper in response to the death – the cartoon showed three “thugs” dripping with blood saying “Welcome people of the world to LONDON's Olympic Games.”

Mr. Q recalled his own time as a Qatari in the UK and how he was treated:

This poor boy was ganged up on, beaten up, and murdered just because he was an Arab. Here is the country that we’re supposed to emulate. Qatari’s travel to England with great honour and strive to acheive when they travel to the UK….When I arrived in the UK, my first obstacle was the airport. The staff there were rude, they treated me like dirt and finally let me through. When I arrived at University, I found out soon enough that the staff didn’t take too kindly to Arabs….

I really hope that the UK government finds whomever did this and brings justice. I hope that the Qatar government will follow this up.

The story quickly made waves in the expatriate community. It was first posted to Qatar Living by britexpat who wrote:

So sad to hear of this and really angry at the moronic element in our society..
Hope the thugs are caught and punished and my prayers for the family..

The post resulted in over 200 comments conveying messages of sympathy, grief and prayers that poured in from both Qataris and expatriates living in Qatar.

Another British expatriate, Qatar Visitor blogged

….While there is plenty of racism in Qatar, a racist attack like this simply wouldn't take place. I have walked through backstreets in Qatar at three in the morning without a qualm. But if it did happen, you would soon be whisked to hospital. Not, as in the case of young Mohammed, spending hours waiting in a police car, then hours again waiting for a hospital bed.

And I can imagine the reaction of the British if a young English boy was killed in an attack by Qatar youths. There would be aggression, a desire for revenge, perhaps some Qataris beaten up.

I have seen none of that. The only interaction with Qatari youths I have had since the incident was at a coffee shop. They were a bit loud and boisterous, but happy to play with my two year old son when he trotted up to them.

I would be spitting for revenge, crying out for the perpetrators to be found and hung, and sod my opposition to the death penalty. The distraught Father of the boy only said it was the will of God.

We British are so proud of our culture, so superior, and so quick to criticize others, but at this moment I can only feel a sense of shame about my country and my people.

Angelwings reminded people that when a British expatriate was killed in a bombing in Doha, the Qatari community showed support to his family by holding a memorial for him – she floated the idea of holding a similar memorial for Mohamed Al-Majed:

It is a terribly tragedy whenever anyone dies needlessly.

But if any of you were around when John, the Producer of the Shakespeare play in the Doha Theatre, was killed during a suicide bombing a couple of years back, then you'll remember that many Qatari people stood for over an hour at a Memorial on the very ground used by the Bomber. It may be nice to show our solidarity and sympathy for this young Qatari boy in the same way. Perhaps on the Corniche, or somewhere where a gathering can take place….

If anyone has similar feelings and would like to show their sympathy and condolences toward the family, perhaps we can name a place and time.

The post became a catalyst for a show of solidarity that was held on Monday, September 8. The event was posted to Qatar Living, I love Qatar and Expat Women where people were urged to “show solidarity with the al-Majed family by gathering at the Doha Corniche wearing something yellow.”

With regard to the tragedy in Hastings UK, recently, we are planning to use this Monday to show our sympathy for the family of the Qatari boy who died, and also make a stand against this kind of meaningless violence. Hopefully the UK government (and others around the world) will take note and give this kind of behaviour ‘zero tolerance’.

We will go to the Corniche on the Monday, exactly one week after the original stand made in the UK….

To be recognised, we will BRING SOMETHING YELLOW. It can be a flower, a balloon, an armband, or even an item of clothing, anything that will distinguish the stand you are making.

There is not going to be any formal spot for meeting, other than on the actual Corniche itself, that way we don't have to ask for permits etc. We will not be forming a ‘crowd’ in any particular place, so a permit will not be required. Only that we will quietly walk or stand on the Corniche area, with our YELLOW distinguishing marker.


Showing Solidarity with Al Majed Family - picture by Novita Photo Credit: Novita Parish

As a result of this online co-ordination, The Peninsula Newspaper reported that over 100 gathered from “different communities” to show sympathy with the Al Majed family. Members of the Al Majed family were also present.

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