Sunday 22 May 2022 01:37 PM Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi says he was racially abused and dunked in ... trends now
Nadhim Zahawi said he was 'racially abused and dunked in a pond' during his school days - and condemned the 'sickening' case of a schoolboy who lost his finger trying to flee cruel bullies.
The Education Secretary recalled his own experience with school bullies when he first came to the UK and attended Holland Park School in west London.
Mr Zahawi, 54, fled Iraq under Saddam Hussein's regime with his family when he was a child and arrived in Britain as a nine-year-old boy unable to speak English.
Opening up about the incident, he said: 'I suffered bullying when I first arrived on these shores. I couldn't speak English and it was hard.
'I remember my first experience, my first school was Holland Park School, being chased around the park as a sort of entertainment for bigger boys and then throwing me in the pond, dunking my head down in the pond. Pretty horrific for a child who has just arrived on these shores.'
Mr Zahawi was also left 'sickened' by the case of Raheem Bailey, 11, who needed urgent surgery after he got his finger caught in a fence while running away from bullies at his school in Gwent, South Wales on May 17.
His mother Shantal Bailey claimed her son experienced 'racial and physical abuse' at his secondary school, Abertillery Learning Community, after starting in September last year.
Ms Bailey is now fundraising to buy the schoolboy a prosthetic finger to help him 'on the road to recovery' and the donations have topped over £81,000 in donations.
Speaking to Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Zahawi said: 'It's sickening, we always need to do more.'
Nadhim Zahawi found the incident of an 11-year-old schoolboy who lost his finger after trying to escape racist bullies 'sickening' and recalled his own ordeal when he attended Holland Park School
Raheem Bailey needed urgent surgery after he got his finger caught in a fence while running away from bullies at his school in Gwent, South Wales on May 17
11-year-old youngster had to have his finger amputated while he ran away from alleged bullies at his school
Opening up about his own ordeal, Mr Zahawi said he did not know if there was a racist element to the bullying he suffered.
'It was a long time ago, but I've certainly been at the receiving end of other racist slurs, words,' he added.
'I was called a p**i at school and I had to explain if they mean I'm from Pakistan, I'm not from Pakistan. I'm actually from a place called Iraq, and I'm of Kurdish origin. It's called Kurdistan.
'It's a horrible thing and I am determined to stamp it out, as I am determined to stamp anti-Semitism in our schools or in our universities. There's no place for racism anywhere in our society, let alone in education.'