25th October 2013
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 seriously.
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.[ends]
Notes to Editors:
The Muslim Council of Britain is the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body with over
500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques,
charities and schools.