Aziz Al-Sa'afin feels 'really sorry' for man guilty of beating him for being gay

The AM Show 22/05/2019

The AM Show's Aziz Al-Sa'afin feels sorry for the man who admitted to beating him in a homophobic attack.

Al-Sa'afin and a friend were attacked during pride month by a group of men shouting homophobic slurs.

One of the men allegedly involved in the attack pleaded guilty to it in court on Tuesday. He was facing charges of injuring with intent to injure and intent to injure with assault.

Al-Sa'afin told The AM Show on Wednesday he would never forget the moment he found out the man pleaded guilty.

"For the last couple of months I felt like I was chained, like this massive thing has just kept me. I've been walking around with this ball and chain just everywhere.

Yesterday in a single moment those chains were just broken.

But he's conflicted over his feelings for the man involved, saying on the one hand this is justice, but he pities his attacker, who now could be facing time in prison.

My message to this guy is I really feel sorry for you.

"From my understanding this was motivated by his religious views."

"I've grown up in a massively religious household and the only thing that I've always been taught is love."

Al-Sa'afin was walking down Auckland's Karangahape Rd with a friend in the early morning of February 10 when they were violently attacked.

A group of men punched Al-Sa'afin in the face and kicked his friend to the ground while calling them "f*gs" and "homos".

The culprits ran away when other people came to the victims' help, and police launched an investigation into the unprovoked assault.

Al-Sa'afin told The AM Show on Wednesday people need to call out discrimination, as it's not appropriate.

"Especially in this day and age that we're living right now."

This is now more important than ever to speak up and actually say to everyone out there that it's not okay.

"This is your time, it's actually okay to say something, because without communication, without calling out people things will never change."

The AM Show / Newshub reporter Katie Fitzgerald