Hooded gang beat man for 'looking Jewish'

By Jessica Elgot, August 12, 2010

A non-Jewish former special constable was beaten up by a hooded gang after he grew a beard, dressed in black and wore a wide-brimmed hat.

Linden Barrington, 25, is a sales representative who lives in an area of Walsall, West Midlands, with a high Muslim population.

Six months ago he began wearing a kippah and has even been keeping Shabbat as part of his intention to convert to Judaism.

He says he has been abused repeatedly since he changed his appearance. Youths have gathered outside his home shouting: “Murdering Jewish bastard”and “f***ing Zionist. You deserve to die.”

In the latest incident, seven Asian youths threw water at him and yelled abuse as he walked in a local park.

He responded by taking out a digital camera and filming them.

He said: “One came up behind me, got me in a headlock and punched me five times in the head.

“They pulled off my hat and my skullcap, while screaming abuse. I was terrified, I had a massive panic attack. A Muslim family who saw me on the street took me into their house and calmed me down while we waited for the police.”

He said he had trouble identifying his attackers because they covered their faces with hooded sweatshirts.

A spokesman for West Midlands Police said: “We are investigating the incident.

“We have received complaints in the past from this individual about verbal antisemitic abuse. No arrests have been made.”

Mr Barrington attends both Orthodox and Liberal services at synagogues in Birmingham.

He was raised as a Christian and had previously considered becoming a priest.

He said: “I would like to do a full Orthodox conversion but I don’t think it’s possible. A Masorti conversion appeals to me but there is not a synagogue near me. I’m hoping to move. I feel very isolated here.”

Last updated: 10:41am, October 14 2010