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Christmas time is supposed to be about people coming together and enjoying the festive period. While there might be some differences in whether you say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or any other variation, most people enjoy spending some quality time with friends and family.
But Christmas was pretty much ruined for one bloke and his two mates after a night at the pub.
Ihsan Abualrob was in a bar in Durham, UK on Christmas Eve when an unknown man approached him and his friends. The person immediately asked where the Palestinian student and his two Egyptian mates were from and even boldly asked whether they were suicide bombers, based on the colour of their skin.
The 27-year-old says they left the pub, but were then confronted by three men waiting outside.
According to Mr Abualrob, the trio began insulting his religion, but trying to defuse the situation, Ihsan's mate said: "Merry Christmas, enjoy your holiday."
He told the Northern Echo: "We started crossing the street and they followed us. One of them threw an empty glass towards us.
"Then one of them lunged at me and punched me on my left check and I fell to the ground. Then three of them started kicking me in the head, shoulders and body. I grabbed my head in my arms trying to protect my face.
"I managed to get away and tried to get into the bar for protection. Because I was so dizzy I fell in front of the pub.
Credit: NCJ Media
"At one point I lost consciousness. I was helpless and thought this was the end of it. It was so scary and frightening. I felt not only in pain but humiliated."
Thankfully, police arrived and Ihsan was taken to hospital for treatment for minor injuries.
A Durham Police spokesman said: "A 49-year-old man and a 23-year-old have been arrested on suspicion of racially or religiously aggravated assault with injury."
Writing on Facebook, Mr Abualrob says there were plenty of people in the pub and outside who witnessed the verbal and physical attacks and did nothing to help them - except for one woman who called the cops.
The post has been liked, shared and commented on by thousands of people, with many assuring Ihsan and his mates that this type of thinking isn't acceptable in Durham or anywhere.
"It was like I was living my worst nightmare," Ihsan said. "We went to the pub to celebrate our first Christmas and left with injuries, pain, tears and rage. Why and how did it happen to us?!
"This is not what we expected for our first Christmas in the UK. This is not what we expected for being international students in Durham.
"This is not what we expected at any point in our lives. Who deserves to get almost beaten to death for doing nothing, for just being who we are, or in this case, for wishing you a merry Christmas?"
Sources: Northern Echo
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