WHEN Shabaz Ali opened his eyes, after fighting for his life in hospital for three days, he didn’t know where he was.

After his father answered his questions, Shabaz told him he had no future in Scotland. “We ran away from war in Syria, I do not want to die here. This country is not safe for me,” he said.

Shabaz, 25, had been stabbed repeatedly in a racist attack by teenager Sean Gorman, in an Edinburgh homeless hostel after asking a friend of Gorman’s to turn down his music.

The 18-year-old will be sentenced next month after admitting the racially aggravated attempted murder, at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday. In court, it emerged that he had previously been jailed in January 2017 for charges of assault to severe injury and endangering life. Although he received a 26-month jail sentence he was released early, in September last year.

Mr Ali came to Scotland after his father Sivan fled Syria in 2000 fearing his life was in danger because of increasing persecution over his work as a Kurdish political activist.

Sivan became a British citizen, and had brought his family over to what they believed was safety in Edinburgh.

In June 2015, Sivan and his son lost nine members of their family after an attack by Islamic State on their home town of Kobani in northern Syria.

The court heard that Mr Ali’s mother returned to Syria to be with her own mother, her only surviving relative. But Shabaz and his father remained in Scotland, where Mr Ali was working as a manager in a barber’s shop and hoping to attend university. They became homeless in April this year, however, and ended up staying, along with Mr Ali’s cousin, Malak, in a homeless hostel in Upper Gilmour Place, in Edinburgh.

It was here, on May 3 this year, that Mr Ali, who had to work in the morning, complained to Gorman’s friend about loud music coming from their room.

However, Gorman, who had drunk almost a litre of vodka and had taken drugs, confronted Mr Ali and told him “Go back to your country,” before stabbing him six times with a lock knife he had bought on Ebay for £50.

The court heard Mr Ali’s cousin was attempting to film the confrontation on her phone, but Gorman was undeterred, warning chillingly: “I will end your life... I will end your life on camera” while pointing at Malak.

Mr Ali was not threatening or confrontational in any way in the lead up to the incident, Alex Prentice said.

The prosecutor told the court about the devastating impact the attack had had on the family. Although doctors managed to save Mr Ali’s life, he suffered life changing injuries. His father has also had to stop working, Mr Prentice said.

He added, of Mr Ali: “He can barely walk. Between them, they have no income. They have applied for benefits but do not meet the criteria for any form of financial support. Sivan also supports his niece Malak Alahmad. She is still going through a visa application process and has no form of income.”

The Kurdish community in Edinburgh has been supporting the family, financially and practically he said, adding: “Shabaz Ali still has nightmares and is very anxious. He feels scared all the time and his wounds still cause him a lot of pain.”

He requires continuing surgery, Mr Prentice said. “He can take short walks with a walking stick and has been encouraged to do so to build up strength before his next surgery.” Aamer Anwar, lawyer for Shabaz and his family said Mr Ali and his father want to get on with their lives. But they also want questions answered, adding that much racist hate crime against Syrian refugees is going unreported and unpunished in Scotland.

He said the family had complained about Mr Ali being placed at the hostel because they felt he was unsafe there, the last occasion just days before the attack. Mr Anwar said the family feels that Edinburgh City Council, the organisation responsible for the homeless hostel, did not do enough to address their concerns.

He added: “Shabaz Ali is lucky to be alive. There must be an urgent review at Edinburgh City Council of the placement of refugees and other vulnerable people in homeless accommodation. This racist thug who pled guilty today who had no regard for the life of Shabaz Ali who was a quiet young man who was trying to rebuild his life after Syria.

“Many refugee families 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 local authorities act sensitively. What they cannot do is hide and to pretend this is not happening.”

“There is a belief that the Syrian refugee community is suffering in silence and is too fearful to make complaints about anyone because of the high level of publicity surrounding the refugee crisis.”

Mr Ali’s father was present in court to hear Mr Prentice’s narration along with the family’s lawyer Mr Anwar. Lord Woolman deferred sentence so the court could obtain reports about Gorman’s character. He will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on August 17 2018.