• Saturday, February 04, 2023

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Greenock shopkeeper expresses ‘sadness’ after customer’s racial abuse: ‘it’s sad I had to deal with this racist abuse’

Hand writing the word racism on blackboard. Stop hate. Against prejudice and violence. Lecture about discrimination or stereotypes in school.

By: Shubham Ghosh

A shopkeeper in Greenock has spoken about his ‘sadness’ after a man allegedly hurled racial abuse at him and asked him to go back to his own country.

Muhammed Fazil, was allegedly abused by Patrick Condon at the ‘News 4 U’ store on Kilblain Street soon after the early morning trade opened, Greenock Telegraph reported.

According to the report, the 54-year-old Condon called Fazil ‘black’ and uttered a vile swear word. He has been barred from the shop’s premises.

“I give him coffee every day he’s here but he’s not allowed in the shop,” Fazil told the news outlet.

He also said that the accused kicked his shop’s advertising board and when he asked him why he did it, the latter said that he was happy to do it.

“He was outside kicking my [advertising] board and I said to him, ‘Paddy, why are you hitting my board’ and he replied, ‘Cos I’m happy,” Fazil was quoted as saying by the report.

He added, “I told him if he didn’t stop I’d call the police and that’s when he started with the racial stuff and shouting and swearing.

“The shopkeeper next door was telling him that it wasn’t nice.”

Fazil said his wife, who was on a phone call at the time and heard about the incident, asked him not to let Condon go.

He said it was “really bad” and it made him “really sad”.

“I’m here to serve the community and most people are lovely but it’s sad that I had to deal with this racist abuse,” he was quoted as saying.

Condon, who is from Murdieston Street, was arrested and appeared at the sheriff court to admit a charge of behaving in an abusive way that included shouting, swearing and making an offensive remark.

According to the Telegraph report, prosecutor Maria Murdoch said the accused started hitting the shop’s window with his walking stick and said, “Go get the rest of your tribe down”.

He also started dancing in front of the witness, it was learnt.

A 999 call was made soon after to report the incident and Condon was arrested. According to Murdoch, when he was warned and charged, he said that he didn’t threaten anybody and only asked Fazil to go home.

Defence lawyer Aidan Gallagher said, “At his age he should know better.”

He said shopkeepers play an essential role in the community and should not be subjected to such behaviour and added that the incident appeared to be an isolated one but that was not to minimise it since it caused distress.

“Mr Condon adversely reacted to being told that he was no longer welcome in the shop,” Gallagher added.

Condon was placed on supervised bail by sheriff James Varney who deferred sentence on him till January 25 for a background report and electronic tagging assessment.

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