Letters in Bri­tain urge peo­ple to ‘pun­ish’ Mus­lims

Mail­ings tar­get mostly Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties.

The Palm Beach Post - - NATION & WORLD - By Amanda Erick­son Wash­ing­ton Post

Rowaida Ab­de­laziz tweeted “‘Pun­ish A Mus­lim Day’ letters are be­ing sent to fam­i­lies in East Lon­don. The let­ter de­tails a point sys­tem for each ac­tion and a re­ward. For ex­am­ple, pulling a Mus­lim woman’s hi­jab is 25 points, throw­ing acid is 50 points and burning or bomb­ing a mosque is a whole 1,000 points.”

At first glance, the mail­ings didn’t seem like much. They ar­rived in plain white en­velopes, with sec­ond-class stamps.

The letters in­side, though, were a dif­fer­ent story. Big red and black letters de­clare April 3 “Pun­ish a Mus­lim” day. Un­der­neath, a rant­ing para­graph at­tacks Europe’s lax im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies, along with Mus­lim im­mi­grants.

“Are you a sheep like the vast ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion? Sheep fol­low or­ders and are eas­ily led,” it reads. “They are al­low­ing the white-ma­jor­ity na­tions of Europe and North Amer­ica to be­come over­run by those who would like noth­ing more than to do us harm and to turn our democ­ra­cies into sharia-led po­lice states.”

Be­low, a chart of­fers “points” for of­fenses against Is­lam: pulling off a woman’s head­scarf would net 25; killing a Mus­lim, 500. Bomb­ing a mosque would get you 1,000 points, and you’d re­ceive 2,500 to “nuke Mecca.”

“They have hurt you, they have made your loved ones suf­fer. They have caused you pain and heartache. What are you go­ing to about it?” the anony­mous mis­sive asks.

Ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties, at least six com­mu­ni­ties around the United King­dom have re­ceived the letters, which are be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the coun­try’s coun­tert­er­ror­ism forces. Tell Mama, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that mon­i­tors anti-Mus­lim ac­tiv­ity, has re­ceived reports of letters be­ing re­ceived in Cardiff, Le­ices­ter, Lon­don and Sh­effield.

Tel­lMAMAUK tweeted “‘Pun­ish a Mus­lim Day’ — we con­tinue to re­ceive reports of letters re­ceived from across the coun­try. Now into dou­ble fig­ures. Please re­port them into us at Tell MAMA or to 101. We are work­ing with po­lice forces on this ma­li­cious cam­paign.”

“This has caused quite a lot of fear within the [Mus­lim] com­mu­nity,” Iman Atta, the di­rec­tor of Tell Mama, told reporters this week­end. “They are ask­ing if they are safe, if their chil­dren are safe to play out­doors. We have told them to keep calm.”

In a Face­book post, Naz Shah, a mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, wrote that members of her com­mu­nity are very dis­tressed. “I would ap­peal to the wider com­mu­nity to re­main vig­i­lant and re­port any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity to the po­lice,” she wrote.

It’s not clear who sent the letters or what they’re try­ing to ac­com­plish. It seems, though, that the writ­ers tar­geted pre­dom­i­nantly Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties. Politi­cian Riaz Ahmed, for ex­am­ple, said he re­ceived one at his home in Brad­ford. The res­i­dents of his neigh­bor­hood are mostly Bri­tish Pak­ista­nis of Mus­lim back­grounds.

Ac­cord­ing to a 2016 cen­sus, there are about 4.1 mil­lion Mus­lims in Bri­tain, about 4.4 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion. That pop­u­la­tion will likely triple in the next 30 years, ac­cord­ing to Pew, thanks to mi­gra­tion. Mus­lim women also have, on av­er­age, more chil­dren. Even so, a 2016 study also found that Bri­tons over­es­ti­mate the num­ber of Mus­lims in their coun­try.

That’s part of a broader trend — in the past sev­eral years, Bri­tons’ at­ti­tudes to­ward Mus­lims have wors­ened, with more than half of re­spon­dents from one sur­vey say­ing that Is­lam poses a treat to the West. A quar­ter of re­spon­dents called Is­lam a dan­ger­ous re­li­gion.


Mus­lims pray out­side a mosque in Bark­ing, Eng­land. Coun­tert­er­ror­ism in­ves­ti­ga­tors are look­ing into anony­mous letters that said points would be awarded for acts against Mus­lims.

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