I spotted this story on an islamic Iranian English language site yesterday evening. They had no doubt that the allegations were true because, 'it is no coincidence - the mother wears a hijab'. By bedtime the family's local paper the Eastern Daily Press had their sorry tale. By morning the Telegraph and Daily Mail had it. Many readers of the Mail were not convinced of the allegations.
the usually serene chess community has been rocked by allegations that a mother and her three schoolboy sons, representing England at a European youth tournament, were subjected to a barrage of racial abuse.
Even worse, the abuse is alleged to have come from members of the English delegation who were supposed to be supporting Muslim player Yousuf bin-Suhayl, 13, and his brothers Ibraheem, 10, and Ieysaa, aged seven.
Yesterday the siblings’ parents, Sohale Rahman and Tomasina Contu, told how tensions became so heated the family had to be escorted back to their hotel by police.
The English Chess Federation is now probing the astonishing claims of physical, verbal and racist abuse at the European Union Youth Championships in Mureck, Austria last week. It is claimed that two parents of other English children in the tournament were harassing and abusing Miss Contu in the stands. One of those involved is said to have forcefully grabbed Yousuf by the chest, causing him to bleed.
Mr Rahman, 43, also said that the boys were not provided halal food, as requested before the competition, and were given cold boiled eggs and ‘bits of bread’ to eat while other team members indulged in a buffet.
Mr Rahman, said his wife and eldest son Yousuf bin-Suhayl, 13, cannot sleep properly after being ‘bullied’ at the championships. They spent the whole trip, which cost the family £3,000, sat at a separate table from the rest of the English party as they were always drinking alcohol.
He believes Yousuf, who got an A* in A Level maths at the age of 12, should have won the competition, but he came third.
He said: ‘My wife and eldest son cannot sleep - they are traumatised. It was bullying. The other parents said my wife was not educated because she chooses to cover her head. They told her to F*** off. They would stand in front of her. And ask ‘where do you think you are going? They set out to intimidate her. One parent said ‘what is that stench’ after she had walked into the room.
He added: ‘She was stuck because the people she was trying to complain about where socialising with the people she needed to complain to.’ The worst incident was when a mother grabbed Yousuf on his chest leaving bleeding nail marks.
He said his wife called Austrian police but was told that they would not investigate the incident because his son’s injuries were not serious enough.
Mr Rahman said no Halal food had been arranged for his family or provisions for them to eat at times to fit in with Ramadan fasting. He said: 'The first day at dawn there was no food. And the place where the food was kept was locked.’ He added: ‘My wife and I felt helpless as parents being unable to feed our children.’ He has complained to British police and Norfolk Police are arranging to take a statement from him.
He said: 'We just want justice.'
Stephen Whatley, one of the other parents on the trip to Austria with the English delegation, rejected the allegations as “completely untrue”. He said: “We were the victims. We were victimised throughout the whole time we were there – not just us but other people as well.”
Any problem with the hotel, ramadan and halal food is nothing to do with other parents. The Chess Federation has made inquiries.
Claims that three talented young Muslim chess players were subjected to racist abuse, and in one case assaulted, by some parents of other competitors at an international tournament are “unfounded”, the English Chess Federation has found. . . the English Chess Federation (ECF) said after a “thorough” investigation it had concluded that there was no evidence that racism or religious intolerance played any part.
The federation found there was a “disagreement” between some families in the English delegation to the European Union Youth Chess Championships between July 31 and August 9 because of complaints about alleged disruptive behaviour by some children.
It said in a statement: “The investigation obtained statements from eye-witnesses. It concluded that the allegations of racist or Islamophobic abuse and of a physical attack are unfounded.”
The federation also rejected claims by Mr Rahman that the hotel where his family stayed in Austria failed to provide halal food, finding that “extensive efforts” were made to meet their requirements.
Mr Rahman said the English Chess Federation’s findings were “farcical” and did not shed any light on what happened in Austria. “They have added insult to injury with this statement,” he said.
Mr Rahman said he intends to pursue his complaints further and has been in contact with both Norfolk Police and Scotland Yard. There is no picture of Mr Rahman but his wife's face does not inspire me with a sense of trustworthiness.