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Number of views/comments on this document: 116

Mosques firebombed in terror backlash

by Lester Holloway
11/7/2005

FOUR MOSQUES have been attacked in a growing anti-Muslim backlash against the London terrorist bombs.

Abdul Munim
Abdul Munim, chairman of the Shahjalal mosque, which was firebombed.

One mosque, in Merseyside was set on fire in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Assistant priest Boshir Ullah, 36, revealed how he was stranded in his upstairs bedroom after the Shahjalal Mosque in Birkenhead was firebombed.

He said: “I opened my bedroom door to see what was going on, and there was a huge fire inside the mosque. I was terrified for my life. There was nowhere to escape and the fire was approaching towards me.

“I didn't know what to do – I called 999 and the fire brigade came and rescued me. They had to break the window and they carried me out.”

backlash

Paramedics treated Ullah for smoke inhalation and he had recovered from his injuries last night. Police are hunting two white men in their early 20's suspected of being behind the mosque arson attack.

Worshippers at a mosque praying for the victims of last Thursday's terrorist attack
Worshippers at a mosque praying for the victims of last Thursday's terrorist attack

Muslim leaders across Britain called on worshippers to pray for the victims of the London bombings on Friday, as a deluge of abusive messages fuelled fears of an anti-Muslim backlash.

The Muslim Council of Britain, and other leading Muslims, offered immediate condemnation of the bombings on Thursday.

Leaders are talking about issuing a fatwa condemning the London terrorists in a move which has been welcomed by Murad Qureshi, the capital's only Muslim on the London Assembly.

The Merseyside arson came in a weekend when mosques in Leeds, Kent and Telford, in Shropshire were also firebombed.

incidents

The Al Madina Jamia Mosque in Leeds was one of the first to come under attack when it was petrol bombed on Thursday night. There are reports of two further attacks in Bristol.

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A spate of lower-level attacks are also spreading with the smashing of 19 windows at the Mazhirul Uloom London, Educational and Cultural Institution, in East London.

Many incidents directed against Britain's 1.8 Muslim community include criminal damage to cars, homes and businesses and verbal abuse. One agency reported over 100 recorded incidents against British Muslims since last Thursday's terrorist attacks.

Chris Fox, the president of Association of Police Chief Officers, said: “There is no doubt that there will have been other low level incidents that have not been reported to police.

enforce

“We encourage everyone to report this type of obnoxious and dangerous behaviour, from whatever quarter, for full police investigation as we are determined that there will be a very robust enforcement response to it.”

Karen Chouhan
Karen Chouhan signs the book of condolence

Last Friday Ahmed Virsi, editor of Muslim News, told how his paper had received a deluge of abusive emails and phone calls, including threats to kill.

The Muslim Council of Britain also reported receiving thousands of hate-filled emails. Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, has embarked on a series of media interviews in an attempt to halt the rising Islamophibia.

Phillips said the way to defeat the terrorists is to say “we're not going to point the finger, we're going to unite against them.”

This morning a number of faith leaders representing Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs gathered at London's City Hall to sign a book of condolence for the victims of last week's bombs.

Azad Ali, chair of the Muslim Safety Forum , said: “This is the biggest test for community relations. The years of planning, of ifs and buts – now the time has come. Our concern is of the potential backlash. We have already received numerous reports of spitting, verbal abuse and attacks.”

Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord John Stevens, writing in the News of the World, claimed that British Muslim extremists were “almost certainly” responsible for the bombs believed to have claimed over 70 lives.

But he was immediately contradicted by government ministers and Phillips, who said Lord Stevens could not possibly know who carried out the atrocities.

Number of views/comments on this document: 116

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Resources:

Equalities Review Interim Report Briefing – Addressing Race Equality

pdf Our Rights, Our Future

pdf Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society: The Government's race strategy

CRE response to DTI Statement on Commission for Equality and Human Rights

Equality and Diversity Forum welcomes the progress on a Commission for Equality and Human Rights

Summary of Changes to the CEHR

The 1990 Trust’s response to the CEHR White Paper

pdf Delivering equality and human rights for black and minority ethnic communities

Flush the academic racism in Blunkett’s office down the pan

Jacqui Smith answers questions on the Single Equalities Body

How to Contact your MP

Links:

Election Memory

Catalyst Magazine

UNITE TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS: sign the statement against the erosion of civil liberties and human rights by new anti-terrorism proposals A Black Manifesto No 2 ID FREE FAROUQ PDP ASSOCIATES

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