A Muslim leader in the North East has added his voice to condemnation of the terrorist attack at French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 dead.
Abu Tayeb, chairman of Islamic Diversity, an organisation which promotes better understanding of the Muslim faith, strongly denounced the attack as “unacceptable behaviour”.
But he said he would not apologise for the attack because it had nothing to do with Muslims or the Islamic faith.
“We’re not going to apologise for their actions because they don’t have anything to do with us. It is similar to the Lee Rigby murder in that they were individuals acting for themselves. There is no link between Islam and their actions. We condemn it.”
The Muslim Council of Britain reiterated its own denouncement of the horrific scenes in Paris, which saw 12 individuals murdered, including two police officers, at the offices of the weekly satirical magazine in Paris.
Dr Shuja Shafi, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain said:
“Nothing justifies the taking of life. Those who have killed in the name of our religion claim to be avenging the insults made against Prophet Muhammad, upon whom be peace. But nothing is more immoral, offensive and insulting against our beloved Prophet than such a callous act of murder. Our thoughts, prayers and solidarity go to the families of the victims and the people of France.
“While Muslims must engage with fellow citizens in a spirit of dialogue and friendship, we must all come together to seek unity and defy the terrorists whose only aim is to divide us. The best defence against closed minds is for a truly open society, welcoming of all.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 08 Jan 2015
Hate attacks on Muslims in Britain quadrupled in the months after the murder of soldier Lee Rigby last year, a study by North-East academics has found.
Of the 734 anti-Muslim attacks reported to the Tell Mama charity hotline in a ten-month period to February this year, over half were in the two months after the drummer was stabbed to death in Woolwich in May 2013, the University of Teesside report shows.
Over half of the Islamophobic attacks in the period were committed against women, often targeted because they were wearing clothes people associate with Islam.
> Or more likely because they are seen as softer targets…I suspect the average heroic defender of our British way of life (whatever that is) would rather hit a woman or child than take on some hard-looking guy.
The report is published by the university’s centre for Fascist, anti-Fascist and Post-Fascist Studies – the first research unit of its kind in the UK dedicated to the study of the far-right and its violent opposition.
It also comes just days after the far-right English Defence League marched through the streets of Middlesbrough in protest at what it described as “Muslim grooming gangs”.
Report authors Dr Matthew Feldman and research assistant Mark Littler said they found Muslims were facing hate crime, both online and in the streets, on a daily basis.
Dr Feldman said: “Muslims remain amongst the most likely minority group in Britain to be targeted for a hate crime. ‘Trigger’ events like the murder of Drummer Rigby clearly magnify the possibility of far-right groups and others victimising Muslims simply for who they are and what they believe.”
While police and government figures show that hate crime incidents are generally falling, those against Muslims appear to have significantly increased since the Tell MAMA project was set up in 2012.
The new report shows that less than one in six people who reported incidents to Tell MAMA actually went to the police.
It also reveals that 60 per cent of perpetrators were aged between ten and 30 – suggesting anti-Muslim prejudice among a younger generation raised in the shadow of 9/11 and 7/7.
Nearly half of all online incidents were linked to far right organisations.
Dr Feldman said he was most concerned about the fact that hate crime was being under-reported.
Fiyaz Mughal OBE, Director of Tell MAMA, said: “We know we are only getting a snapshot of what’s happening, but it is clear that fear and apprehension is evident among Muslim women.”
The report, titled ‘Anti-Muslim Overview, Analysis and Cumulative Extremism,’ will be officially launched at an event on Friday 4 July, from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, at the Old Shire Hall in County Durham.
Source – Northern Echo, 01 July 2014