A hard-working Brooklyn deli owner who was bashed with a metal pipe by a gang of thugs during a caught-on-video hate crime is back on the job — but still fears the brutes will return for him, his wife told The Post Wednesday.
Marie Shahzada, 45, said the attack on her hubby Jamal Sawaid at his Coney Island shop last week has put a dent in business — and even local pols are too scared to come to the area to support small businesses.
“Small businesses are vulnerable to all the violence,” she said. “In this community, in Coney Island, what we’ve been asking is for the local representatives to come out. The local representatives are not walking from Mermaid Avenue, West 16th all the way down to 35th.
“They’re scared themselves,” she added. “If they can’t do that, then what do you think about us?”
Sawaid, 58, was inside his shop around 2:20 p.m. Saturday when four men came in and confronted him, calling him a “sand n—-er” and hitting him in the face and head before beating him with a metal pipe, according to police.
While he still feared for his life, the shop owner, an immigrant from Yemen who has been part of the community for more than two decades, returned to work the day after the hateful attack.
“Yeah, of course, he’s afraid, but who’s gonna feed our family?” asked Shahzada.
“He’s a workaholic, to be very honest,” she said. “The minute he knew he could come back, which was the next day – which he shouldn’t be back – he came. I came with him. We tried to clean up as much blood as we can.
“And exactly what he’s saying [is], ‘Who’s gonna take care of the family?’ You have to come back, you have to open up.”
Surveillance video inside the 1716 Mermaid Avenue Deli and Grill shows one of the assailants come in and say something to Sawaid, then unexpectedly attack the shopkeeper with a metal rod as the suspect’s cohort came in and assailed another worker.
“My husband was cleaning up behind and a gentleman walked in and asked him, ‘Where’s the sand n—r?’ My husband thought it was a joke, so he looked up, smiled, and said, ‘Here I am,’” Shahzada said.
“Because he was the only Arabic person in the store at the time, and he thought it was a joke, and the guy started swinging with the metal rod,” she said.
“My husband, they ripped open his head. He ended up getting eight staples, stitches. His face was swollen. Blood was all over the floor.”
Sawaid was taken to NYU Langone Hospital, where he was treated and later released.
“Now, the swelling is going down slightly, but it’s now turning black and blue,” his wife said. “He has to drink out of a straw. Like coffee right now, he’s drinking out of the straw.”
The NYPD released photos of the four creeps fleeing the scene, but all of them remain on the lam.
The department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the incident.
“He’s a man and he’s not going to want to say that, but he’s afraid,” Shahzada said of her husband.
“But my husband’s very supportive in the fact that he knows, you know, he has to feed a family, he has to run a business,” she said. “His customers, the community, they’re his extended family. So it’s like, you know, he feels an awkward obligation to open his doors for them as well.
“He has such a big heart for them.”
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