A teenager has admitted the racially-aggravated attempted murder of a Syrian refugee in Edinburgh.
Shabaz Ali was stabbed in an argument with Sean Gorman at a hostel in Upper Gilmore Place in Edinburgh in the early hours of Thursday May 3.
Mr Ali, 25, had fled to Scotland five years ago with his family and was working as a barber and staying in the hostel as he looked for a new home.
Police Scotland said Gorman, 18, had been visiting the hostel and that Mr Ali called at his room due to loud noise.
Gorman made threats and racially abused the victim before stabbing him and leaving the property.
He was traced a short time later in Duff Street and arrested, with a lock knife recovered.
The 18-year-old pled guilty to racially-aggravated attempted murder as well as causing racially aggravated alarm to another woman within the hostel at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday, Police Scotland said.
The charity Positive Action in Housing have supported the Ali family and released pictures of Shabaz in critical care at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after the attack.
His father Sivan told the charity he could hear his sons’ attacker shout: “Why are you still here, why are you not back in your own country?”
Campaigners set up an online appeal for donations “to help Shahbaz recover and rebuild his life” with more than £12,000 raised.
Gorman will be sentenced in August.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Grainger said: “Gorman’s violence was extreme and left the victim with significant, life-threatening injuries. He showed utter disregard for the victim and another woman who was with him – made all the worse given the appalling racist language used.
“Whilst this attack happened within a private property, it gained a great deal of public and media interest and I’m pleased that Gorman has been brought to justice so quickly. Edinburgh is a vibrant place where people of different nationalities, faiths and backgrounds live together and the support shown by the local community for the victim and his family is far more indicative of the city’s inclusivity than this one isolated incident.
“We work closely with all the different groups and communities across Edinburgh and hate crime and violence of this nature are roundly condemned. I hope that today’s conviction helps the victim and his family to move past this terrible attack and I wish them well.”
Mr Ali’s solicitor Aamer Anwar said a number of attacks on Syrian refugee communities are going unreported because people “are too frightened to complain”.
Mr Anwar said: “The family are Syrian refugees from Kobane, Northern Syria, who fled death to live in Scotland five years ago.
“Shabaz lost nine members of his family after an attack on their city by Islamic State. This racist thug who plead guilty today had no regard for the life of Shabaz Ali, who had done nothing wrong, he was a hardworking and quiet young man trying to rebuild his life after Syria.
“Many refugee families today are suffering racist abuse in Scotland and it’s up to decent people to stand up for their rights and ensure that the culprits are dealt with and that the local authorities act sensitively to support and if necessary rehouse victims. What the authorities cannot do is hide and pretend this is not happening.
“Since the attack the family are deeply grateful to Positive Action in Housing for their tremendous advocacy and support, as well as their MP Joanna Cherry, the leader of the Council and the people of Edinburgh who also rallied to their support.”