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Dublin man who attacked fellow Muslim with knife over prayer etiquette avoids jail

Hamid pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Hamid pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

A man who attacked a fellow Muslim with a knife in a dispute over prayer etiquette has avoided a prison sentence.

Shoaib Hamid said he was extremely remorseful and suggested his temper may have been shorter than usual that day because he was fasting for Ramadan. He has since apologised to his Imam and now attends a different mosque.

Hamid (44) of Castlegate Grange, Adamstown, Co Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to his victim on June 19, 2015 outside the Mosque in Fonthill Retail Park.

Garda Theo Barber told the court that an elderly man had entered the mosque and had walked in front of someone who was praying. The court heard it was considered an serious breach of etiquette and manners to walk in front of someone during prayer.

Hamid had seen this and started berating the older man. Another man then intervened and told Hamid not to be so disrespectful. There was a brief argument before the imam told them to stop.

A short time later Hamid tapped the same man on the shoulder and told him to mind his own business. He told the man to come outside with him and threatened to break his hand.

The man went to follow Hamid outside but he was stopped by others who told him not to get involved. However when he left 15 minutes later he found Hamid waiting for him.

Hamid asked him what his problem was before punching him in the head. The victim then felt something sharp hitting him on the back of his head. He realised he was bleeding and that Hamid had hit him with a carpet knife.

Gardaí arrived and arrested Hamid. The victim was treated for several cuts and was left with a permanent scar.

In interview Hamid made general admissions and said that “words were exchanged.” He admitted using the knife but said he didn't know if the blade was out or not.

Defence counsel Pieter Le Vert BL said his client suggested that he may have been extra irritable because he was fasting. He said this was not offered as an excuse for his actions.

Counsel said Hamid is originally from Pakistan but left 16 years ago because of political instability. He said that since coming to Ireland he had been the subject of two severe assaults which had “a racial tinge” to them. One attack left him requiring a plate in his head.

Hamid worked as a chef and a lorry driver before spinal tuberculosis left him with a damaged leg. Counsel handed in several testimonials and said he was well respected in his community.

Judge Melanie Greally said anyone who attacked someone with a knife was risking causing serious disfigurement or death. She said Hamid's reasons for the attack were very hard to discern but that she was happy it was out of character for him.

She imposed a two and a half year sentence which she suspended in full.