The UK’s largest Muslim umbrella organisation has called on the government and police authorities for a “coordinated” response to the recent terrorist attacks against mosques in the Midlands.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) wrote to Home Secretary, Theresa May yesterday urging a serious “national response” to numerous terrorist and arson attacks against mosques and Islamic institutions since the killing of British soldier, Lee Rigby on May 22 in Woolwich, south east London.
Secretary General of MCB, Farooq Murad said: “Following the events in Woolwich there has been a significant increase anti-Muslim hate crimes across the UK. The community has patiently borne the brunt of these attacks despite condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the tragic murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.
“Despite this spike in incidences, there has yet to be a coordinated national effort to ensure that these sorts of attacks never happen again. It cannot be right that a minority community is allowed to be targeted in this manner.”
Mr Murad and Deputy Secretary General, Dr. Shuja Shafi visited the mosques at Walsall, Tipton and Wolverhampton on Saturday, where they were briefed by the mosque committee and community leaders about the necessity of a prompt response from the police and the solidarity within the community. The community leaders also gave suggestions for a practical and more “coordinated” approach to anti-Muslim terrorism which included MCB preparing a toolkit for its affiliates.
Mr Murad said: “The existence of viable explosive devices outside mosques should worry all those responsible for the safety and security of communities in the UK, it marks the crossing of a red line. Had these bombs exploded, people would have been killed.
“There is an urgent need for the government and police to respond with a coordinated national strategy so as to prevent further attacks.”
Writing to the Home Secretary, Mr Murad seeked clarification of how the government plans to respond to the escalation in violence against Muslims and their places of worship. The letter stated: “For many Muslim communities across this country, there is a palpable sense of fear. Many congregations who belong to our affiliates are understandably worried and feel that, while the local police are doing all they could to investigate these incidents, the national response has been far from satisfactory. We sincerely hope you can take this matter up as a matter of urgency and ensure peace and harmony is maintained between our communities.”
Woolwich murder and Islamophobia
Since the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich in May, Islamophobic attacks have increased across Britain. Numerous mosques and Islamic centres have been fire bombed and targeted with bombs.
A mosque in Braintree, Essex and Gillingham, Kent was attacked on the evening of the Woolwich murder. A mosque in Bletchley, Milton Keynes and Grimsby Islamic Cultural Centre was fire bombed within days of the of the Woolwich incident. Al Rahma Islamic Centre in Muswell Hill, North London was torched to the ground with “EDL” painted on its walls. Darul Uloom in Chislehurst, Greater London was also set on fire weeks after the Woolwich attack.
A bomb was left at Aisha Mosque in Walsall on June 21 and at Kanz ul-Iman Jamia Mosque in Tipton on July 12 just after jummah prayers. Wolverhampton Central Mosque was also evacuated on July 18 after an explosive device was discovered next to the building.
A 25-year-old Ukrainian male was arrested on July 18, along with another a 22-year-old Ukrainian man on suspicion of being involved in the “commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism” in relation to the three separate bomb attacks on mosques in the Midlands. They were also questioned about the murder of Mohammed Saleem, 82, who was murdered on his way home from the mosque on April 29 in Small Heath, Birmingham.