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Foreign students say they are targets

Aug. 28, 2008 at 9:33 PM

HASTINGS, England, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Foreign students in a historic English town where a teenager from Qatar was fatally beaten say racial harassment is common.

Hastings on the south coast is best known for the battle between William the Conqueror and King Harold in 1066. In recent years, it draws about 35,000 students like Mohammed al-Majed for short English courses every year, The Independent reported.

Majed, 16, died Sunday in a London hospital after a confrontation with young local men on a street in Hastings. He was out with friends Friday night when he fell or was pushed or beaten.

Local officials and students met Thursday to discuss safety in Hastings, the BBC reported. The foreign-language schools have become an important part of the local economy.

Pandaris al-Ghandi, 32, of Saudi Arabia, who is studying at the same school as Majed, said he and his brothers quickly learned not to walk home at night.

"The problem is that there are groups of drunk young people and when they see that you are a foreigner or a stranger they start shouting bad words," he told The Independent.

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