Racist’s ‘Pun­ish a Mus­lim Day’ cam­paign led to surge in threats on Bri­tain’s Is­lamic com­mu­nity

The National - News - - WORLD -

Mus­lims in the UK faced an in­crease in vi­o­lent threats in the run-up to a day called “Pun­ish a Mus­lim Day”.

An Is­lam­o­pho­bia mon­i­tor­ing group said it re­ceived a surge in re­ports in March and April af­ter David Parn­ham sent let­ters en­cour­ag­ing vi­o­lence against Mus­lims on April 3.

Parn­ham, 35, last month ad­mit­ted send­ing let­ters con­tain­ing harm­less white pow­der to Queen El­iz­a­beth and Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May as well as threat­en­ing let­ters to mosques over a pe­riod of two years.

The let­ters were re­ceived by com­mu­ni­ties in Eng­land and Wales – in­clud­ing West York­shire, South York­shire, Le­ices­ter­shire, Lon­don and Cardiff – and sug­gested pulling off women’s hi­jabs and throw­ing acid at Mus­lims. He is to be sen­tenced next month.

The pub­lic­ity around the date con­trib­uted to a surge in re­ports, said anti-Is­lam­o­pho­bia group Tell Mama.

One teenager re­ported be­ing sent Is­lam­o­pho­bic abuse on mes­sag­ing app Snapchat on April 3 with the sender say­ing they were “so happy” that it was Pun­ish a Mus­lim day and called for Mus­lims to be “placed in con­cen­tra­tion camps like the Jews”.

Data from the mon­i­tor­ing group also showed that at­tacks on British Mus­lims in­creased in vi­o­lence, with a marked shift from on­line abuse to phys­i­cal con­fronta­tions.

Two thirds of all cases re­ported to Tell Mama in­volved street at­tacks and abuse – a turn­around from five years ago when most re­ported cases were on­line. Most vic­tims were women, the group said in its re­port.

Tell Mama said it was con­cerned at the ris­ing level of vi­o­lence and the “ir­re­spon­si­ble lan­guage of main­stream fig­ures” that marginalised Mus­lims in British so­ci­ety.

The UK last month re­ported a 17 per cent in­crease in hate crime over the past year, with 94,098 in­ci­dents recorded by po­lice, up from about 40,000 re­ported in 2012.

The statis­tics also re­vealed an in­crease in at­tacks against Mus­lims in re­la­tion to cer­tain events, in­clud­ing the 2016 vote to leave the Euro­pean Union and ter­ror­ist at­tacks in the UK and France.

One mes­sage on Snapchat called for Mus­lims to be ‘placed in con­cen­tra­tion camps like the Jews’

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