A dad has told how he was smashed over the head with a brick in front of his wife and young children in a horrific attack in Bolton.
The victim, who asked not to be identified, was returning home with his family after collecting a Chinese takeaway when the incident occurred.
A thug calmly approached and said 'hiya' before suddenly hitting the man with the brick three times around the head.
The victim was left with serious injuries and required 13 stitches for several head wounds in hospital.
Fortunately, he is expected to make a full recovery.
The attack happened close to Al-Falah mosque on Salisbury Road in Bolton at around 6.30pm on Saturday and the Muslim community fear it may have been racially motivated.
The victim said he did not hear any racial language, but said he understands why many fear it was a hate crime.
"[The attacker] was quite polite," he said.
"He introduced himself saying 'hiya are you okay?'
"I was concentrating on getting the children out of the car, then before I knew it he had smashed my head three times with a brick.
"Thankfully, it didn't knock me out.
"As I went to chase him, he jumped on a bike and cycled off as fast as he possible could."
The victim, 34, said he believed there were at least two other young men with the attacker, who stood nearby and watched.
He said he didn't recognise them and has no idea why he was targeted.
However, it is understood the attack has left worshippers at Al-Falah mosque extremely concerned.
One told the Manchester Evening News: "The victim has a beard and wears Muslim dress, so we suspect it was a hate crime.
"They were lucky it wasn't a murder, everyone is shocked."
The EU referendum and terrorist attacks, including the Manchester Arena bombing, are thought to have caused spikes in hate crime, a Home Office report said.
Given the circumstances of the incident, the victim says it is possible the attack was racially motivated, but he also suggested it could be a case of mistaken identity or even a 'gang initiation'.
"I was visibly dressed as a Muslim and it was close to the mosque so I understand why people are concerned that it was a hate crime," the victim said.
"I really don't know why it happened but they need to be apprehended.
Images shared with the M.E.N. show a serious gash to the victim's eyebrow and another on the top of his head that required eight stitches and five stitches respectively.
"There was a lot of blood," the victim said.
"The man seemed quite shocked that he hadn't knocked me out.
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"It could have been a lot more serious.
"My youngest daughter is five, she was really scared.
"My family was really upset of course but they are OK now."
The incident was reported to police and it is understood officers attended two days later to take statements and evidence, including possible CCTV footage and the brick which the attacker dropped in the street.
Greater Manchester Police has been approached for comment.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101. Information can also be reported via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.