A Muslim from Bradford says he was determined to look past racism after he helped a homeless man, who shouted racial slurs at him, find a home and employment.
30-year-old Aminur Chowdhury, from Manningham, did what very few others would do when confronted by a racist term, he engaged in active conversation with the culprit and befriended him.
Not only that, but the following day, Aminur phoned up his new acquaintance, who was unemployed at the time, and helped him get a job at one of his friend’s businesses.
The guilty party on this occasion was 27-year-old Ben Gallon, from Frizinghall, Bradford, who had been drinking through the day.
Both men now acknowledge this action was ‘completely out of character’ and Aminur says he knew from the very start that Ben was a ‘smart man’ and just wanted to help someone who he could tell ‘didn’t have a vicious bone in his body’.
“Ben’s been a pleasure to know really,” he said. “From the first time I met him at The Delius I could tell that I was speaking to someone who is very passionate.
“I was scared for him at first because there were two police officers there and I felt that they could have taken him away because of the racist language, but I certainly didn’t want to see that happen.
“He has a very good grasp of ideologies and I was very impressed so I thought I’m going to engage with this person because he’s like a counter-copy of myself.”
After speaking at the venue, both men handed over contact details and Ben says he didn’t even know whether they would ever meet again.
“When I met Aminur in The Delius, I was in a bit of a predicament; I was technically homeless, without a job and had just moved back down from Edinburgh,” he said.
“We spoke at the pub and he mentioned about a job but I thought he might have just been being polite.
“But true to his word, the next day he gave me a call, said ‘can I come pick you up Ben, I’ve got an interview for you’. That same day, he came round to get me, drove me down to the place on Canal Road and then within ten minutes I had been offered the job.”
Ben had been working as a cleaner in Scotland before moving back to Bradford to be closer to his family after his contract expired.
Having no permanent residence, Aminur has now also helped arrange for the Bradford-born resident to move into an apartment in Frizinghall, whilst their friendship continues to strengthen.
“He really is a diamond, I don’t have a single bad word to say about him,” Ben added.
“He is a fantastic bloke and we may have only known each other for a week but we are already very close. I can’t really thank him enough for the help he has given me over the past week.”
Both men now agree that they want to see their circumstance replicated in the city, and help improve relations between different cultures and religions in Bradford.
“Ben and I together now can hopefully help challenge issues, like racism in society, in a positive way,” Aminur added. “The way I’ve done it for Ben, I now know he would do the same for me, and that way of thinking is all we need to achieve great things here in Bradford.”
Ben added: “We really are singing from the same hymn sheet. Being from Bradford we know racism is the key issue and we’ve both seen it from different angles. Now we just want to tackle that subject and help make Bradford the great place we know it can be.”