"calling me all sorts, like dirty P*** and things like that."
A takeaway owner has spoken about the shocking racist abuse he received before his shop windows were smashed by vandals on the night of December 17, 2020.
Sohaib Ahmad, of Gringos Mexican takeaway in Armagh, Northern Ireland has been left reeling just a week before Christmas.
Mr Ahmad, popularly known as Ali, suffered racist abuse on the phone from anonymous callers to his takeaway. Just 24 hours later, his business was deliberately attacked, leaving him devastated.
Gringos has operated in the city for around 11 years and according to Mr Ahmad, this is the first time he has experienced anything like this.
He told Armagh I: “Maybe people don’t like me being here anymore. I just don’t have any clue why this has happened.”
On the two-night series of events, he explained: “Last night three of the windows were smashed. The workers in the shop recalled hearing a loud bang and when they went outside to see what had happened there was nobody there.
“Maybe people pulled up in a car, threw something at the window, and drove away.
“But the day before – on Wednesday night – I got a call from a withheld number and the people on the other end of the phone started racially abusing me but I just ignored it as I was working.
“It was just racism down the phone, calling me all sorts, like dirty P*** and things like that.
“It was half an hour of constant calling to the shop phone with their withheld number.
“But I have been a bit scared since yesterday.”
The damage to the business on Killylea Road will set the takeaway owner back hundreds of pounds just days before Christmas and ahead of a difficult January where most of the city will be in lockdown.
Mr Ahmad said: “It’s all the windows which will need replaced. It’s not as if it’s just small pieces to replace, it’s the entirety of the shop front.
“With Christmas around the corner, it’s horrible. I have been serving all the community here for a long time.”
“I am just lost for words.”
The incident happened at around 10 pm and it occurred around the time an Indian takeaway was targeted in a similar manner.
Police have issued an appeal for information after Shapla, on Lower English Street had its windows shot at.
Officers believe a pellet gun was used in this attack.
If you witnessed anything, have any dashcam footage, were in the area at the time, or heard anything, then please contact police on 101 and quote 1943 of 17/12/20.