Upsurge in anti-Muslim attacks

Upsurge in anti-Muslim attacks


Written by: Jon Burnett

An overview of the anti-Muslim violence and abuse that has taken place in the last seven days.

It only took a matter of hours. Soon after British soldier Lee Rigby was brutally murdered, a man walked into a mosque in Gillingham, smashing up the interior. Around the same time, someone was arrested outside an Islamic centre in Essex with a knife and an incendiary device. Late in the evening, a group of teenagers hurled bricks through the windows of a mosque in Grimsby and damaged parked cars nearby; and a few days later, two former soldiers threw petrol bombs inside the same building whilst a young family was inside. By that time, a swathe of incidents against Muslims was being, and now continues, to be reported: of abuse, of vandalism, of attacks.

About 200 incidents have been recorded by the government’s monitoring body, Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks (MAMA), since latest Wednesday. This cocktail of hate and harassment includes online abuse, death threats, spitting, name-calling, vandalism and, at their most serious, incidents like that in Bletchley last week when a burning bottle was thrown at a mosque, which had some thirty worshippers inside at the time.

A selection of anti-Muslim attacks over the last week is presented below:

27 May 2013: In the early hours of the morning, a stone was thrown at a mosque in Brixton, smashing a side window. (Voice, 29 May 2013)

27 May 2013: A non-league footballer, Shaun Tuck, encouraged people to ‘bomb and gas every mosque in England’ on Twitter. His tweets went on to say ‘Am raging in here in me loft yno … Got the balaclava out, dusted down an ready for the meet — I’d be going through there door mate an taking there kids head off an killing whoever was in site!!’ (Daily Mirror, 28 May 2013)

27 May 2013: Racist graffiti was daubed on a door, bin and the pavement in a street in Burnley, alongside the initials ‘EDL’ and ‘BNP’. (Lancashire Telegraph, 28 May 2013)

27 May 2013: Graffiti described as ‘sick’, making reference to Muslims and the Qur’an, was sprayed on an underpass in Plymouth. (Plymouth Herald, 30 May 2013)

26 May 2013: Petrol bombs were thrown at a mosque in Grimsby whilst a family with young children were praying inside. Two ex-soldiers were later charged with arson and intent to endanger life. The same mosque had been attacked a few days earlier (see below). (Grimsby Telegraph, 28 May 2013)

25 May 2013:  A former soldier stuffed a tissue into a bottle of alcohol and tried to burn down a mosque with it in Rhyl, Wales. (Wales Online, 27 May 2013)

25 May 2013: Protesters gathered outside a mosque in Portsmouth and four people were arrested, two for racially aggravated public order offences, one for a minor assault and the other for failing to comply with a dispersal order. (Portsmouth News, 25 May 2013)

25 May 2013: Confused EDL supporters angrily Tweeted Celtic fans after a Tricolour was seen on TV at a game, with the words ‘Achill Ireland CFC’ on. The EDL thought the words said ‘Islam CFC’. (Scotsman, 27 May 2013)

24 May 2013: A girl in east London was confronted by a gang who tried to rip off her niqab. (Engage, 24 May 2013)

23 May 2013: Teenagers vandalised a mosque in Grimsby, throwing bricks through its windows as well as damaging parked cars nearby. (Grimsby Telegraph, 24 May 2013)

23 May 2013: At about 11.30pm, someone threw a burning bottle onto the roof of a mosque in Bletchley. About 30 people were inside praying at the time. (Independent, 24 May 2013)

23 May 2013: ‘Extreme racist threats’ were posted on social media sites calling for a mosque in Morden, south London, to be burned down. Such were the severity of the threats that police were deployed for protection. (This is Local London, 24 May 2013)

23 May 2013: The words ‘Islam=evil’ were sprayed onto a mosque in Bolton, and a car nearby was daubed with graffiti saying ‘terrorist inside’. (Asian Image, 23 May 2013)

23 May 2013: A mosque in Dorset was vandalised, with bricks thrown through four of the windows. Two men were later charged with racially aggravated criminal damage. (Western Gazette, 24 May 2013)

23 May 2013: A mosque in Maidenhead was vandalised, with a window above a fire exit smashed. (Maidenhead Advertiser, 24 May 2013)

23 May 2013: Two men entered a takeaway in Upton Park, London, and shouted ‘You killed one of our soldiers, we’ll kill you’, before smashing up the property. (Newham Recorder, 24 May 2013)

23 May 2013: Milk bottles filled with paint were hurled at a mosque in Belfast. Two teenage boys were seen fleeing from the area. (Belfast Telegraph, 30 May 2013)

23 May 2013: A Muslim woman, on a train from Bolton to Blackburn, was spat on and abused by a white passenger. (Tell MAMA, 23 May 2013)

23 May 2013: Police in Edinburgh investigated a series of ‘racially insensitive Twitter messages’. Using the handle @edininfidel, the messages were of such concern that police were moved to reassure worshippers of the city’s three main mosques. (Edinburgh Evening News, 29 May 2013)

23 May 2013: A man in Bolton was arrested and bailed on suspicion of inciting racial hatred in connection with comments that he posted on Facebook. (Bolton News, 24 May 2013)

23 May 2013: The words ‘Hell 2 Muslims EDL’ were daubed near Mitcham Junction station, south London. (Huffington Post, 24 May 2013)

23 May 2013: A white woman abused a Muslim woman in Leeds city centre, telling her ‘That’s right you murderers, you’re the scum of the Earth, go back to where you come from’. (Huffington Post, 24 May 2013)

22 May 2013: Up to 100 EDL supporters, including their leader Tommy Robinson, marched through Woolwich, south London, clashing with police. A brick was thrown through the window of a mosque in the area. (Muslim Issue, 22 May 2013)

22 May 2013: A man threw a smoke grenade into a mosque in Essex and then stormed into the building. Brandishing two knives, he asked, ‘Where is your Allah now?’ (Essex Enquirer, 29 May 2013)

22 May 2013: A man walked into a mosque in Gillingham and smashed up a bookcase containing copies of the Qur’an, as well as one of the windows. (Kent Online, 23 May 2013)

22 May 2013: Muslim leaders in York invited the EDL to meet with them after they received ‘aggressive threats’ in the wake of the Rigby’s murder. The EDL had threatened to hold a demonstration outside of a mosque in the city. (Huffington Post, 27 May 2013)

22 May 2013: A 48-year-old man took to Twitter to incite people to attack Muslim businesses, including a shop owned by Muslims near his home. (Manchester Evening News, 29 May 2013)

22 May 2013: On the Facebook page for the ‘True British Patriots’, there were calls for mosques to be burned down. (Guardian, 23 May 2013)

22 May 2013: Strips of bacon were left by the door of a mosque in Cardiff. (Wales Online, 23 May 2013)

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

One thought on “Upsurge in anti-Muslim attacks

  1. In my book ‘Dear Birmingham’ I propose a more positive and proactive look at religion, especially Islam. This is a particular need in Birmingham where Muslim children are already the largest religious group in the schools.

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