The Muslim Council of Britain
today welcomed the sentencing of Pavlo Lapshyn who has been sent to jail for
murdering an elderly British Muslim man and attempting to blow up mosques.
There are many lessons to be drawn from this case: the response of the
authorities, and our collective unwillingness to treat anti-Muslim hatred
Lapshyn's terrorist activities
should not be seen on isolation. There will be some who will view his
activities as those of a lone wolf. But in a summer that saw an unprecedented
rise in attacks on mosques and Islamic institutions, it is important for all of
us to challenge anti-Muslim hatred, just as we challenge those who wrongly use
Islam to carry out acts of violence.
Lapshyn’s murder of pensioner Muhammed Saleem
Chaudhry is particularly worrying. It seems that the Police were reluctant to
categorise this as an Islamophobic attack. In his daughter’s view, the
initial investigation was “evasive” and the family were forced to “put a lot of
pressure to piece together the witness statements and CCTV footage to find a
link” (Muslim News, May 2013).
In the summer, the Muslim Council
of Britain wrote to the Home Secretary and the Communities Secretary
highlighting the lacklustre response from those who protect us. While reports
since suggest a greater response from our security agencies, there needs to be
more action and reassurance in the community.