Originally posted at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/05/24/anti-muslim-hatred-woolwich-murder_n_3330756.html?utm_hp_ref=uk
Woolwich Attacks: 'Massive Spike' In Anti-Muslim Attacks Including Death Threats And Vandalism
Muslim leaders have expressed fears over the "massive spike" in Islamophobic abuse following the butchering of a solider in Woolwich on Wednesday.
Tell MAMA, the charity which monitors anti-Muslim attacks, has logged 83 new incidents of threats or violence reported by Muslims to its helpline in the last 24 hours.
The charity usually receives four to eight calls per day. Nineteen of those attacks have been street based.
"Most of them have been abuse against Muslims though they also range to threats to kill, murder and attack mosques," Fiyaz Mughal of Tell Mama told The Huffington Post UK.
"One of them was an incident at Braintree mosque where an individual tried to enter the mosque saying ‘Where is your Allah now,’ and two knives and a smoke bomb were found on him."
The widespread nature of the attacks has caused concern that there may be a more prolonged backlash against Muslims than previously anticipated, after the killing Drummer Lee Rigby.
The English Defence League rallied its followers to the streets of Woolwich on the night of the killing, and mosques have been targeted by lone far-right extremists across the country.
Braintree's Geoffrey Ryan is set to appear in court charged with two counts of possession of offensive weapons and affray, after an attack at the Al Falah Braintree Islamist Centre the day after the murder. The secretary of the mosque in Braintree, Sikander Saleemy, said that he felt like it was a "revenge attack".
Kent police said there had been criminal damage caused to a mosque in Canterbury Street, Gillingham, describing it as "racially-aggravated criminal damage".
Mosques in Bolton and Cambridge have also been graffitied, and countless others threatened, Tell MAMA said.
A vile slogan was pained close to Mitcham Junction station, which read “Hell 2 Muslims EDL” . Merton council sai the graffiti has already been removed.
"Muslims at this moment are feeling a real and pervasive sense of fear, particularly Muslim women who fear going out and this is compounded when husbands suggest that they will undertake activities like shopping for them," Mughal told HuffPost UK.
At a meeting with Muslim professionals on Thursday, Mughal said that 11 of the people he met, in a group of 18, siad they were considering leaving the UK. "This is startling since just over half would consider leaving the UK. This shows a level of deep anxiety about the future of Muslims in the UK," he said.
"Community leaders have called for calm and have strongly rejected the actions of the two individuals who murdered the young soldier. However, many are simply bewildered and do not know what else they can do apart from call for calm.
"Security is an area where mosques have been extremely lax and this needs to change and more so, now."
Tory minister Baroness Warsi said the situation had been unnecessarily inflamed by giving "air-time" to Muslims with extremist views by broadcasters, including preacher Anjem Choudary. "We all have a responsibility, including the media, not to give airtime to extremist voices – idiots and nutters who speak for no one but themselves," she said.
Choudary, former head of banned Islamist organisation Al Muhajiroun, was given a slot on Thursday's BBC2's Newsnight and on Channel 4 News.
Unite Against Facism told HuffPost UK that it had to be recognised that "fascist organisations such as the English Defence League and British National Party are trying to use the murder to whip up racism and direct hatred against all Muslims.
"We do not hold white people collectively responsible for Timothy McVeigh, the US neo-Nazi whose 1995 Oklahoma City bomb killed 168 people, or for David Copeland, the former BNP member who planted bombs across London in 1999.
"The fascist organisations that are trying to stir up trouble and racist violence in the wake of the Woolwich killing do not care about the dead soldier, his family or the interests of any community. They want only to see Muslims attacked and a race war on our streets."
Other Muslim leaders, while strongly condemning the murder of Drummer Rigby, warned politicians and the media about inflaming tensions.
"Statements such as Baghdad violence on the streets of London by the Media is wholly irresponsible and will not lead to any betterment," the Central Association Of Sunni Muslims said in a statement. "We ask all British citizens and in particular the Muslim community of United Kingdom to stand united against any form of violence and terrorism. We continue to pray for the guidance of the misguided and for the riddance of those inciting hate in the name of religion."
This act will no doubt heighten tensions on the streets of Britain," said Imam Irfan Chishti of the Rochdale Council of Mosques. "What has happened is wrong and totally unacceptable but ‘Islam and Muslims’ are not responsible for the actions of a few evil monsters. "
A 26-year-old Muslim woman from Leeds told HuffPostUK the racism she experienced in the aftermath of the Woolwich murders. "I was walking in Leeds town centre with my two children and mother in law after we had been shopping. There were some pigeons on the floor and my two children ran after them as children do. The lady was sat on the bench and her daughter was standing next to her.
"She shouted with grinding teeth at my children saying"Stop it!!" I was shocked and shouted back to her, "Dont speak to my children like that!"
"And she said: "Well tell your children to stop chasing animals like that!". So I told her to shut up and was walking off when she said something under her breath, I heard "murderer".
"I turned around and asked her what she said. She said: "That's right you murderers, you're the scum of the Earth, go back to where you came from!"
"So I told her I was born and brought up here, and she cut me off and said with a snigger: "No you're not.""