Rise in attacks against Muslims: Muslim Council of Britain calls for political leadership on worrying growth in Islamophobia

19 December 2016

The Muslim Council of Britain has today written to major British leaders to stand in solidarity with Muslim communities following a week where there have been a number of public attacks targeting Muslims.

Writing to the leaders of all national political parties, the letter highlights three incidents from last week:

  • In London, a knife-wielding man shouted “I want to kill a Muslim” before stabbing a Muslim in the head, twice in the chest and three times in the back
  • In London, a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf was shoved to the ground and dragged along the pavement in a “sickening” attack: she was left unassisted for almost 20 minutes before being able to dial 999
  • In Scotland, a mosque in Cumbernauld was sprayed with racist graffiti.

Growing hate crime against Muslims as recorded by national police forces (despite significant under-reporting) goes hand-in-hand with hostility towards Muslims. It was exemplified on a train this week when a man refused to sit next to the winner of last year’s Great British Bake Off, Nadiya Hussain, saying “I ain’t sitting near a Muslim”.

The letter signed by Harun Khan, the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “Standing up against the spread of hate is not a party-political issue and we are writing to political leaders from all parties requesting they all stand in solidarity with Muslim communities to tackle this scourge of Islamophobia that divides our society.”

It also covered concerns about the media: “We also hope that newspapers will act responsibly and stop spreading hate with headlines like “Here’s what terrorists look like” and instead report on the fantastic work done by Muslim communities across the country. In recent weeks, many newspapers have been forced to correct a number of articles after being found to be making false claims about Muslims.”

It concluded: “Whilst the scale of Islamophobia in the UK has not yet reached that faced within many parts of Europe, we cannot be complacent and hope we can count on your support in retaining the values of our nation that we hold dear.”

[ends]

Notes to Editors:

1. 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.

2. Muslim Council of Britain submission to Home Affairs Select Committee on Hate Crime and its Violent Consequences.

3. “Here’s what terrorists look like” is a headline from the Sun newspaper on 11 December (see here) – the Sun has refused to even acknowledge any concerns about the shocking page, called a “bloody disgrace” by Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake.

4. For further information please contact:
The Muslim Council of Britain
PO Box 57330
London
E1 2WJ
Tel: 0845 26 26 786
Fax: 0207 247 7079
[email protected]

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