A man who was sprayed in the face with an “unknown substance” in the city this week is a prominent expert in counter-terrorism.
Noor Dahri is the executive director of Islamic Theology of Counter-Terrorism (ITCT), a UK-based group that was created in Leicester.
The 50-year-old was born in Pakistan and after coming to the UK studied forensics and criminal psychology at Oxford.
Mr Dahri also studied counter-terrorism at the University of Maryland in the US.
As well as being and author and expert on counter-terrorism he is a driving instructor, which he started three years ago as a means to feed his family.
At around 2.30pm of Tuesday, February 4, Mr Dahri was attacked by what he says were two masked men as he got out of his car to greet a new learner driver in the area of Barfoot Road, between Wigston and Aylestone.
An ‘unknown substance’ was thrown in his face, which he said temporarily blinded him.
He was also kicked and punched before his attackers set to damaging his car.
‘I thought my eyesight was gone’
“I only saw one man but I saw the other after I ran over to the other side of the road,” he told LeicestershireLive.
It took “a couple of hours” to get the chemicals out of his eyes, he said, adding: “I couldn’t see, it was very heavy burning, very heavy pain.
“I thought my eyesight was gone, I couldn’t see for about five or six hours.”
Mr Dahri had to have his eyes flushed, and was in hospital for one night before being discharged.
Leicestershire Police confirmed that a 15-year-old had been arrested in connection with the incident but has since been released under investigation.
Inquiries into the incident are continuing but the “unknown substance” is not believed to be acid-based, said police.
Mr Dahri told LeicestershireLive he did not know whether the attack was linked to his counter-terrorism work.
But in a post on social media, he said: “It was most probably [a] pre-planned and targeted attack.
“They’ll never shut my voice against terrorism and antisemitism.
“I’ll fight this [war] till my last drop of blood. They’ll lose.”
Mr Dahri is no stranger to the world of violence.
Before moving to Leicester he received numerous death threats while working for the British Transport Police in London and speaking out against Islamist terror.
The former police worker, who came to the UK from Pakistan 20 years ago, said that speaking out against terrorism was something that just had to be done.
He said that prior to joining the police he was in a “bubble”, unaware of the world of terror. But after joining the police and becoming aware of terror attacks and potential attacks, he was shocked.
“So I thought, ‘A very tiny amount of Muslim people will talk out about this,” he said.
“So I began to think I should come out and put my voice against terrorist ideology.”
Since then, Mr Dahri has received a life-time achievement award from the House of Lords. He has also spoken at conferences such as the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism conference in Israel.
He has encountered many infamous characters linked to terrorism in his life, two of those being Anjem Choudary and Jihadi John 2, whom he stated was his neighbour.
It is these types of characters that Mr Dahri said he attempts to persuade to live a “peaceful” life without terror.
“Someone needs to challenge these ideologies if we are to see change,” he said.
“Someone has to come out against it instead of just sitting in a bubble.
“I cam here 20 years ago but when I see this country it’s like my mother, and if I am not sincere to this country how can I be sincere to anyone else.
“So I have to pay this country back.
“I say to people, ‘You have to be British first and then be the person you want to be’.”
A fund-raising page has been set up to help Mr Dahri, who is without a car because it was damaged in the attack and is therefore temporarily employed.
The page can be found here.