The Ham and High paper reports that former UN diplomat Zakariah Fellah has been attacked by a man who shouted anti-Semitic abuse at him, calling him a “rich Jew” as he strolled along leafy Lancaster Grove.
Mr Fellah, 49, was visiting Belsize Park to stay with a friend who is a diplomat at the Polish embassy in London.
After coming round, and bleeding profusely from his smashed nose, he stumbled back to his friend’s home further down Lancaster Grove and called police – who took 45 minutes to arrive.
They took him to the Royal Free Hospital where he spent five hours and was given eight stitches to his nose. He is now waiting for the results of an X-ray to see the full extent of damage to his face.
Mr Fellah said: “I had taken the dogs out and was walking along when this guy started shouting at me. He seemed to have a problem with the dogs. He shouted at me ‘you are rich and Jewish.’ He then came over and grabbed my hat..
“Then from nowhere he suddenly ran towards me and headbutted me on my nose. I was stunned and fell backwards. I was not expecting it at all. The next thing I knew, when I came round after ten or 15 seconds, I am lying on the floor and he is standing over me. My nose is destroyed.”
His attacker then fled.
Mr Fellah, who is Canadian but has lived in New York for the last 26 years, said: “I am just shocked, so shocked. It seems that London has become more dangerous than New York. This seems like such a peaceful, friendly neighbourhood, yet I feel safer on the streets of Manhattan without any doubt, where nothing like this has ever happened to me.”
He is surprised that the police took so long to arrive. “In New York the police would have arrived in five minutes.”
Mr Fellah, who was born Muslim and now lectures around the world on Islamic extremism.
He said: “I am now carrying on doing the things I love in London. But I do not feel comfortable walking down the street. It is just crazy. I never thought anything like this would happen in an area like this which is full of families, young children.”
A police spokesman confimed that, “A suspect was later arrested and questioned at a north London police station on suspicion of assault causing greivous bodily harm.”
The suspect has been released pending further inquiries.