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Anders Vendel, a restaurateur and popular TV star, posted news of his assault on his Facebook page, saying he was attacked “by three Muslim men” who jumped him at a fast food outlet in Malmo, Sweden, binding his arms behind his back and punching him 20 times.
Vendel ended up in the hospital after the attack, which Swedish police are investigating.
In his Facebook post, which he has since deleted, Vendel said his attackers said he resembled U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.
The story of Muslims attacking a Trump look-alike was picked up by both mainstream media sites and those in the alt-right blogosphere and spread rapidly around the world. Vendel, however, has distanced himself from the coverage, which he says has been “scary” in its focus on his attackers’ supposed religion.
Speaking to Sweden’s English-language news site The Local, Vendel said none of sites that posted stories about his attack attempted to contact him. He said when he wrote his post he was “angry, hurt and humiliated when I wrote what I was thinking at the time,” adding “I’m absolutely not a racist, not after what happened either. It could have been anyone. I’m alive – it will be ok.”
The TV chef said he wasn’t certain the men who assaulted him were Muslim, only that he had heard them speaking Arabic. Sweden is home to many Arabic-speaking Christians, as well as Muslims, originally from the Middle East.
The attack, and the media echo it created, came just days after Trump’s shock victory in last week’s U.S. Presidential election, a result that sparked outrage in much of the world due in no small part to Trump’s many controversial campaign promises, including his pledge to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. (something the President-elect has since backtracked from).
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