One hundred people protested on Tuesday against a racist and Islamophobic letter which designated April 3 as “Punish a Muslim Day” by forming a human chain around a mosque in Newcastle.
Tyne and Wear residents stood in solidarity with Muslims on a day during which anti-Muslim violence was supposed to be glorified. The residents said they would rather spread love, not hate.
The horrific “Punish a Muslim Day” letter awarded “points” for anyone who would carry out certain crimes on Muslims. These included verbal abuse, torture, throwing acid in faces, burning down mosques and “nuking Mecca.”
Muslim women were warned to not go out and hide their hijabs or avoid walking alone in response to the threats.
However, in the face of these threats, people came together despite their different beliefs to unite against racism. The protestors standing around Newcastle Central Mosque showed their strength and unity in response to xenophobia and held up posters saying “Hug a Muslim Day.”
Elsewhere in the UK, letters with “Love a Muslim Day” and “Day of Solidarity” were distributed. These letters promised rewards or points if anyone threw flowers at Muslims, smiled at them, or bought coffee and cake for them, while the highest rewards were offered for buying a Hajj package.
Matthew Guest, a sociologist of religion at Durham University, said: “Great to be part of human chain of solidarity stretching around Newcastle Central Mosque.”