A jury found self-confessed neo-Nazi Zack Davies, 26, guilty of attempted murder after he attacked a Sikh dentist in his local Tesco.
Davies admitted intending to cause GBH but denied trying to kill.
The victim, Dr Sarandev Bhambra, 24, a dentist, experienced ‘life-changing’ injuries. Without the intervention of an ex-serviceman, Dr Bhambra would be dead. “I thought I was going to die, I was horrified,” Dr Bhambra said.
This violent and unprovoked racist assault may prevent Dr Bhambra from returning to denistry.
Witnesses detailed how Davies hit Dr Bhambra with a machete ‘five’ or ‘six’ times. They also heard shouts of ‘White f*cking power’, and ‘This is for Lee Rigby’. Others heard: “I am doing this for the whites, I am doing this for you, for the UK”.
But there is something missing: why was a Sikh targeted in ‘revenge’ for Lee Rigby’s murder? In short, the truth lies in Davies’ racist ideology.
Davies admitted that Bhambra’s race made him a target (irrespective of faith). Yet, it fails to account for the Lee Rigby reference. A reference likely influenced by a racialisation of Muslim identity.
When police entered Davies’s home, they discovered a plethora of neo-Nazi literature.
Alongisde Hitler’s Mein Kampf was a copy of Hunter, a book written by William Luther Pierce, the founder of the US-based National Alliance.
Davies owned a copy of the Turner Diaries that influenced Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh. Copies of these texts also belonged to another neo-Nazi terrorist, Pavlo Lapshyn.
Other white supremacist materials included a book on the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging. Promotional materials for the fringe neo-Nazi group National Action were also found. National Action reflect the fractured British far-right – a group that is social media savvy, fiercly ideological and infamous for running training camps and antisemitic stunts.
The incident took place in January 2015 and known Islamophobes attempted to capitalise. Robert Spencer’s ‘Jihad Watch’ claimed ‘UK media coverup: “White power” supermarket attacker is Muslim, wrote “The wrath of Allah is about to come down upon the kaffir”. That narrative soon apppeard on other Islamophobic sites ‘Bare Naked Islam‘ and Pamela Geller’s ‘Atlas Shrugged‘.
Tarek Fatah also tweeted the inaccurate story.
Remember the attack on a Sikh in Wales by 'White Power' Zack Davies? http://t.co/BnCDZia0TS Turns out Zack Davies is convert Muslim Zak Ali
— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) January 22, 2015
Davies’ only ‘Islamist inspiration’ was their capacity for violence. He spent hours browsing violent websites and watching ISIS execution videos.
His obsession with knives dates back to childhood. Aged 11 or 12, he took a knife to school, intending to attack a fellow pupil. But it only resulted in explusion. From the age of 15, Davies told the court that he ‘always carried a knife’. He claimed this childhood incident fuelled a sense of paranoia. That paranoia, Davies claimed, ‘increased’ with news of ISIS.
Yet, there is an inherent danger of rationalising racist violence under the guise of mental health. Sentencing will take place on September 11 pending psychiatric reports.
Speaking after the jury reached its verdict, Dr Bhambra’s brother said:
“We are in no doubt, given the racial and political motivations, that this should have been rightly defined as an act of terrorism. By his own admission, the defendant Zack Davies had extreme neo-Nazi views and is a member of a white supremacist organisation.
“Sarandev was singled out because of the colour of his skin. The media have a responsibility and an obligation to report these aspects of the trial and bring to the fore the major implications of this”.
Questions around Davies’ radicalisation require an introspection often missing in debates on the topic.