Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Appendix B

Islamophobic attacks in the wake of terrorist attacks on USA

  The Muslim News, Issue 149, Friday 28 September 2001—10 Rajab 1420

http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/archives/paper.php?article=423.

  Ahmed Versi and Umi Hawa Hussein

  In the wake of the terrorist attacks on the USA, many UK Muslims are being victimised and harassed. The Muslim News is documenting the reports of attacks on British Muslims. Hundreds of incidents are being reported. Many are reluctant to come forward due to a climate of fear prevailing in the Muslim community.

  The harassment may take the form of verbal abuse and threats to physical assaults and damage to mosques.

  If you have encountered any such attack, please do inform us, so that we may document it and have a clear picture of what is happening nationwide. The information will be treated in confidence and anonymity will be maintained.

  Please telephone The Muslim News on: 020 7608 2822 or e-mail: [email protected]

  List of attacks are pasted on our website www.muslimnews.co.uk

SOUTH-WEST

  In Swindon, Wiltshire, at 8:15pm on 14 September, a Muslim woman aged 19 in Hijab, was attacked by two unknown white males. She was walking home from her temporary job in Graham Street.

  The victim was repeatedly hit around the head with a baseball bat. She believes it was a metal baseball bat that was used to hit her. The victim was released from hospital after being treated for bruising.

  The attack is being treated as racially motivated and the police are not ruling out the possibility of a link with the incident in the US, although the victim believes it is a result of this.

  No arrests have been made; the police are appealing for witnesses.

SOUTH-EAST

  In Dover, Kent, an Afghan asylum seeker was assaulted while walking.

  On Thursday 13 September at 8:30pm, a Mosque in Milton Rd, Southend, Essex, was victim to a graffiti attack on their walls. On Friday 14 September, at 2am bricks were thrown which smashed the windows: "We live upstairs and were woken up by the smashing of the windows. We were devastated, that a holy place was desecrated", said Siddiqah Awan.

  Thursday 13 September, 6:30pm when Muslim ladies in Hijab were coming back from work, in Epsom, Surrey, young kids threw sandwiches at her. She didn't say anything, but her non-Muslim friends told them off.

GREATER LONDON

  In Twickenham, an Afghan taxi driver, Hamidullah Gharwal (28), was attacked, on 16 September at about 3am. He was left paralysed from the neck down.

  On the 17 September, 3 men aged 25, presumed white were arrested on suspicion of GBH.

  They are all bailed to return on the 25 September to the Southwest London Police. Attackers shouted racial abuse at him; he was hit over the head with a bottle and kicked while he lay on the ground.

  The motive of the incident is unsure, as it started off regarding a dispute on the mini cab fare, from Acton to Twickenham. However, comments were made about the US incident, but police have not been able to confirm what was said.

  In Neasden, on Thursday 13 September, an Egyptian lady in Hijab was driving her car. A white man stopped her under the pretext of needing directions, she opened the window, he then threw eggs at her.

  In Central London on Friday 14 September, a Lebanese woman in Hijab was punched in the face, she fell down and was injured severely. She is recovering in St Mary's hospital.

  In a State Comprehensive Boys School in East Finchley on the day of the attack, a television was on in the 6th form common room. As an instant reaction, Asian/Arab looking people were all called "Terrorists", by white pupils, they also muttered; "Bastards, we'll get them."

  In Bushey, Hertfordshire, two Muslim women in Hijab were walking on Wednesday 12 September in the morning, when a car passed and white occupants shouted "you Muslims are murderers", a second car passed, with similar comments being shouted.

  Tuesday 11 September, a woman went to Doctor's surgery, in the Harrow area, she was told by the receptionist in front of everyone, "you Muslims have done this".

  A 10-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl overheard a conversation between some dinner ladies at a state Primary School in Pinner on Wednesday 12 September. The dialogue consisted of "Muslims are bad as they are killing people". When the children relayed this to their parents that evening, their mother was faced with the task of trying to explain to them that this is not the case.

  Britain's first state-funded Islamic School: Islamia Primary School, Brent, was forced to close, after threatening telephone calls, since the incident in the USA on Tuesday 11 September. Two other schools on the site, a secondary school and sixth-form college for girls and in total around 500 pupils have been kept at home since Wednesday 12 September. The school reopened on Monday 17 September.

  The school secretary wearing a Hijab was verbally abused while out shopping.

  A mother walking from the Islamia School to the primary school encountered a car that slowed down and what she described as "a man dressed in a suit" shouted, "we'll get you, one by one."

  In Tower Hamlets, East London, on Monday 17 September, group of girls in Hijab, were spat on by some white men.

  The Islamic Cultural Centre, (London, Regents Park), has been receiving threatening e-mails reading, "you go home", "we'll get you", and "we'll kill you". The underground car park was closed and 24-hour police protection has been put in place. On Thursday 13 September, at 3pm there was a bomb threat, which led to the evacuation of the mosque.

  The week commencing 10 September, a Health Fair was organised by the Health Authority in the mosque. On Wednesday 12 September, only 50% of the 33 stallholders, who were all non-Muslim, turned up, on Thursday 13 September, only ¼ turned up. The reason given by the non-Muslims was that they were afraid to attend, as they believed the mosque would be attacked.

  On Friday 14 September at the Roman Catholic School, St Alloisivs, in Islington, a 13-year-old boy was verbally abused, "Your family has done this, what happened in America." The boy complained to a teacher, who subsequently punished the boys.

  At Highbury Girl's School in Islington, white classmates insulted a 15-year-old girl in Hijab.

  The Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park, which also houses a mosque, closed as usual on Sunday 16 September at 9:30pm. On Monday morning when the Centre opened they found a window had been smashed with a bottle of alcohol. The incident was reported to Islington police. The bottle remained intact and was taken by the police for prints.

  The Centre runs training classes for women in IT and dressmaking etc. with a usual turnout of around 35 sisters. Only seven turned up on Tuesday 18 September, and those that came, wanted to leave early. Fadi Itani, the Director said, "The women were scared they would be assaulted as they were wearing Hijab".

  Thursday 13 September at 11pm, a letter was put through the letterbox of the Tooting Islamic Centre (a committee meeting was in progress); the letter read, "Shut this shop or we will kill", signed "UK BA". A motorcyclist dressed in black delivered it. Tooting police are now dealing with the incident. At 1:20am, the Secretary, Aniz Jussab received a phone call at home from the police, informing him that the Islamic centre's windows had been broken. Five different windows were broken, air rifle pellets were found, so it is possible an air rifle/gun of some sort was used. On Sunday evening, 16 September, graffiti was daubed on the side of the mosque that read "Murdering Bastards".

  Aniz Jussab said that they received formal reports of two cases of women having their Hijab snatched off their head and being spat on and having beer cans thrown at them.

  One of the e-mails received by The Muslim News related an incident in London's underground. On Friday 14 September, "One of my work colleagues was on her was home on Wednesday 12 September. She was on the tube, Central Line heading eastbound from Marble Arch. There was a gentleman on the tube who looked as if he was from the Middle East as well as a Muslim, ie beard and clothes. The majority of passengers on the train were being very hostile and intimidating, constantly staring and muttering at or about the gentleman. The gentleman initially faced the hostility but eventually turned his head down and disembarked from the train."

NORTH-EAST

  In South Shields, graffiti was daubed on a wall urging people to "Avenge USA—Kill a Muslim now." (see page 3).

  In the same area, a 20-year-old Bangladeshi man suffered a broken jaw after being beaten and kicked by a gang of white youths.

NORTH-WEST

  Jamia Alavia Islamic Centre, on Bromwich Street in Haugh area of Bolton, Lancashire, was set alight with a petrol bomb. Two or three petrol bombs thrown against the building, luckily as they had grills, no one was hurt. Three huge windows shattered, 20 people, including children, were praying Isha Prayers, at 9:10pm, Monday 17 September. Police have increased patrol around the mosques. Faruq Mangera, Secretary of Bolton Council of Mosques, was surprised and commented: "We have had good relationship with the white community and we never expected this. There was no increased police security before this." When The Muslim News told him that the Home Office had informed police nationwide to increase patrols, he said, "The police never approached me". The Manchester police have not apprehended anyone.

  The Shah Jalaal mosque in Didsbury, Manchester, on Monday 17 September had a firebomb through the letterbox; it resulted with the carpet being burned. The fire brigade came, as someone reported it.

  On Sunday 16 September, Kwik-save in Levenshulme was graffitied with the following: "Death to all Muslims—Allah is scum" (see page 3 for photograph).

  In Manchester, on Wednesday 12 September, a lady teacher in Hijab was on a train, someone said; "Do you think you will live until 9pm tonight?".

  Two weeks ago in Manchester, a Muslim woman was asked to remove her Hijab by her employer, she refused saying, "I am a Muslim and I will not remove my Hijab". However, being a diligent and honest employee, she worked for two hours unpaid overtime before leaving.

  Again in Manchester, white youths set firecrackers on random cars in parking lots of major supermarkets such as Asda.

  In Blackpool, on Wednesday 12 September, a man wearing a cap and a beard, was verbally abused "You scum, you terrorist".

EASTERN

  In Peterborough a Sikh man in a newsagent was being mistaken for a Muslim, and was verbally abused by white customers.

  In Milton Keynes, on Wednesday 12 September, a Head teacher in a school assembly responded to a white student who said the Israelis were responsible, by saying that it was the Muslims that were to blame. Parents complained to the Head teacher and the next day, a special assembly was called where he apologised, and said; "one should not blame the Muslim community for attacks in the USA".

MIDLANDS

  Mosques in Birmingham have received abusive telephone calls, and one had excrement through the letterbox.

  Two Asian Councillors were attacked and injured, on 11:30pm on Saturday 15 September. Coun Chaman Lal, a Sikh, and a colleague who wishes not to be named were attacked in Cape Hill, Smethwick, Birmingham. They left a pub in Cape Hill with another friend and were waiting at a bus stop. A man ran up to them shouting "Are you Muslim, I want to kill all Muslims." The man is white and believed to be Irish. Coun Lal (Lab Soho) was struck in the stomach; the unnamed councillor was hit in the face, knocking out some teeth. Coun Lal said: "I am completely against the attacks in the USA and believe terrorism should be wiped out, but it is not right for people to attack innocent people at will."

  In Wolverhampton, there are reports of Sikhs being harassed.

SCOTLAND

  Glasgow's central mosque has brought in private security guards to patrol the perimeter of the building after windows were smashed. The Mosque has also been receiving bomb threats.

A 20-year-old girl on Wednesday 12 September at 6pm, in Longsight, Glasgow, was going to her sister's house by bus. During the journey, a white man sitting behind her said "you Muslim bastard" and then he hit her over the head with a glass Tizer bottle. Nobody came to her rescue; she remained quiet after the incident, as she was too frightened and alighted at her stop.

  "I was in a daze and didn't know what to do, the driver didn't do anything even though he saw what had happened. The bus was full. It is a sad thing because of anti-Muslim feeling that no one came to my rescue," she told The Muslim News.

  On Tuesday 11 September, 10:30pm two mosques, in Livingstone, West Lothian and in Bathgate had bricks thrown at them. At the Livingstone mosque, 15 minutes prior to the bricks bring thrown through the window, they had a phone call twice swearing at them and saying, "You Islamic people are bastards. We are going to get you". Imam Abdul Rashid told The Muslim News that he telephoned the police, but the police arrived too late after the bricks were thrown.

NORTHERN IRELAND

  In South Belfast on Friday 14 September, there was an attack on an Islamic Centre. Three bricks were thrown at the mosque in Wellington Park in the south of the city, smashing two windows. No one was injured. Sinn Fein has condemned the incident.

  The person in charge does not think the attack is racially motivated, and said it was not unusual for windows to get broken.

WALES

  Welsh Somalians, observing Hijab, suffered verbal abuse from men in Cardiff streets, "Go Home".

  South Wales Police said there had been an increase in the number of racist incidents, though gave no details. Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy and Assembly Finance Minister Edwina Hart said these attacks were no more justified than the acts of terrorism.

  12 September, City Road, Cardiff, in a Computer Shop which belonged to an Iranian

  Whites came into the shop, and said, "Go back to your country".

  15 September, Swansea mosque and Islamic community centre, St Helen's Rd, a brick was thrown through the window in the early hours. "Very lucky that no-one was hurt and no-one was injured, police have increased their patrols", said Director of Swansea Bay Racial Equality Council Tahar Idris. He also gave an example of a 10 year old Muslim girl whose Hijab was ripped off by an adult outside school gates, on Wednesday 19 September.

  In Swansea, Muslim children are being taunted in schools.

  In Swansea town centre, on Thursday 13 September, a lady in Hijab was verbally abused by an old British man who said, "you cruel Muslims." She did not reply, however commented to The Muslim News that she was horrified for being blamed for something she did not do and that she condemns.

  A Muslim mother and her children were allegedly chased into their home by a gang calling them terrorists and threatening to bomb the property, it was claimed on 20 September.

  Businessman Foyzul Bari, 47, said his family were "shocked and shaken" after the gang of up to eight men allegedly threatened to slit his wife's throat. Mr Bari rushed back to his home, in Swansea, south Wales, fearing his family were victims of a revenge attack. My wife was literally under siege at home. Four men from a group of about eight were outside screaming "terrorist", he said.

  "They threatened to cut my wife's throat and bomb our home. My eldest son called the police and then called me. The police were there when I got home but all they did is speak with the men in question for about five minutes. They drove off bibbing their horn. When I asked them why they had not taken any action they said they would have had to arrest my son as well, which is ridiculous. As a Muslim I am used to some racism in the street but this is a case of the police turning a blind eye. I intend to complain in the strongest terms."

  Inspector Bill John of Swansea police confirmed that the incident and a complaint about the police response were being investigated.

INTERNATIONAL

Europe

  Netherlands—a mosque and two classrooms at an Islamic school in Nijmegen were set alight.

  At Zwolle, arsonists attacked a mosque.

  Copenhagen—28 year old Dane jailed for four weeks after he was arrested while about to hurl petrol bombs at a mosque.

  Danish town of Dragoer—a Pizzeria owned by Kurdish immigrants was attacked.

  Poland—a mosque in Gdansk was stoned by youths.

India

  In Delhi on 19 September, Hindus attacked a historic mosque in north Indian city of Bagalpur. Doors and windows of the mosque were destroyed. During the attack, valuables from inside the mosque were also stolen.

Australia

  A school bus full of Muslim children was stoned in Brisbane.

South Africa

  The Muslim Judicial Council's (MJC) offices in Cape Town were set alight in an attack which the MJC believed could be linked to "global anti-Muslim sentiment since the terror attacks in New York and Washington in the United States last week," Sapa, the South African news agency, reported on 19 September.

  The report said petrol was poured over the double wooden doors of the MJC offices and set alight. The caretaker, who slept at the back of the building, was woken by the smell of the fire and extinguished it, the report added. Police forensic experts visited the scene and the bomb squad examined the building as a precaution. Sedick said the MJC had received a number of hate phone calls from people who had described Muslims as "pigs" who should "get out of our country".


 
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Prepared 19 November 2001