Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Daily Mail reports on the arrest of the man photographed showing off a mosque bomb tattoo at a recent English Defence League rally in Birmingham.

Sean Reah, of South Shields, South Tyneside, has been arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred.

Mr Reah was pictured at the Birmingham demonstration on Saturday 20 July lifting up his T-shirt to reveal a tattoo of a mosque with the word ‘BOOM’ written across it.

A West Midlands police spokesman confirmed: “A 39-year-old man has been arrested in South Tyneside on behalf of West Midlands Police on suspicion of using words or behaviour, or displaying written material with intent to stir up racial hatred.”

Reah, in an interview with regional news site, Sky Tyne and Wear, said that he had since removed the tattoo “because people found it offensive.”

When asked why he had got the tattoo in the first place, he said: “It was just a daft thing to do.”

The rally in Birmingham attracted around 1000 far right supporters and ended in violence and disorder with 20 arrests and a policeman being taken to hospital.

A 20-year-old woman was charged with racially aggravated public disorder and two men have since been charged with possessing offensive weapons. Police are now trawling through hours on CCTV footage to try and identify other offenders.

A police spokesman said: “The wealth of exceptional quality CCTV within the area is likely to provide significant investigative opportunities to bring a large number of offenders to justice for what, at times, appeared to be serious offences.”

A 21-year-old man has been charged with assault after being arrested at the English Volunteer Force rally on Saturday, This is Local London reports.

Ian McDonald was arrested when English Volunteer Force (EVF) supporters clashed with anti-fascist campaigners outside the UK Border Agency HQ, Lunar House, in Croydon on Saturday.

McDonald has been charged with affray, common assault and possession of Class B drugs.

The protest, outside the UKBA headquarters, attracted around 40 EVF demonstrators. The EVF, who claimed to be protesting against the “Islamification” of Britain, were outnumbered by over 100 anti-fascist campaigners and trade unionists, according to the local news site.

The Public and Commercial Services Union had previously called for the rally to be banned given the violence and intimidation that has characterised other far right demonstrations. Members of the local Muslim community also raised concerns over the rally and its scheduling during Ramadan.

Local paper, the Blackburn Citizen, reports on a motion presented to the county council urging the authority to pre-stun all animals used in the preparation of school meals despite the method being rejected by some Muslims as not complying with ‘halal’ slaughter.

Former Lancashire county leader, Geoff Driver, presented the motion to a council meeting this month urging all animals killed for meat in school meals to be pre-stunned and for this to become official policy.

He said: “This is about one issue and one issue alone, animal cruelty.”

The motion has been criticised by Councillor Salim Mulla, Mayor of Blackburn and chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, who said: “This is Coun Driver’s view on animal welfare and I respect that.

“However he should not impose that view on Muslim families whose children go to Lancashire county council schools.

“There is a view in Islam that halal meat should not come from animals stunned before slaughter which I subscribe to.

“Muslim parents should have a choice of meat that adheres to their view of halal.

“There are Orthodox Jews in Lancashire who would share my concerns.”

The matter has now been referred to the council’s scrutiny committee.

Andrew Stephenson, Conservative MP for Pendle, said: “I am not sure this motion to the full Lancashire county council meeting is the best way forward. The county council and council of mosques need to sit down and find a solution for this.”

This is not the first time the Lancashire Council of Mosques have taken issue with meat used in school meals and provided by Lancashire County Council. ‘Halal’ beef burgers supplied to four of the county’s schools were withdrawn after testing revealed horse DNA to be present.




Labour MP and Shadow Home Office minister, Chris Bryant, has criticised David Cameron’s response to bomb attacks on three West Midlands mosques and the murder of Mohammed Saleem, in a visit to one of the affected mosques, the Express & Star reports.

On a visit to Kanz-ul-Iman Central Jamia Mosque in Tipton Mr Bryant said it was a ‘shame’ that the Prime Minister had not issued a statement about the attacks in TiptonWalsall and Wolverhampton.

During his visit on Friday, Mr Bryant also criticised the government’s response to the killing of Birmingham pensioner, Mohammed Saleem, in April.

He said: “Britain quite rightly was very angry about the killing of Lee Rigby. But I think some people feel a bit as if we haven’t been quite so exercised about this incident, and that is certainly the feeling of some people in this community. It’s a shame we have not seen the Prime Minister say anything about it.

“He could have been more forceful about attacks on the Muslim community.”

Last week, West Midlands Police Deputy Chief Constable Dave Thompson, wrote on his blog of the ‘low level’ of media reporting on the terror attacks in the West Midlands asking whether the targetting of ‘another faith’ would elicit more coverage.

Adding to Bryant’s remarks, Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, in a letter to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, iterated concerns that the Government Taskforce set up after the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby on Woolwich address the problem of “terror attacks on Muslim communities as well as Islamist extremism”.

Cooper said: “These terrorist attacks, including the murder of Mr Saleem, are vile, appalling attempts to divide our communities. It is essential that there is serious engagement by government with the communities who have faced these threats.”

She added, “Like others, I had assumed the Prime Minister’s task force for tackling extremism would engage seriously with the West Midlands communities concerned…Clearly it needs to cover terror attacks on Muslim communities as well as Islamist extremism. So I think it’s really important the Taskforce considers these attacks and engages with the community now.”

Responding to questions raised by Cooper on the remit of the new Taskforce, Mrs May said: “These are of course terrible crimes which have the potential to cause fear and resentment across communities and we must continue to make clear that we will not tolerate extremism which attempts to divide us.”

The disparity between policy initiatives on tackling far right violent extremism and resources dedicated to tackling ‘Al-Qai’da inspired terrorism’ has been a criticism consistently levelled at the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy.

The Home Affairs select committee in its report last year on The Roots of Violent Radicalisation, observed:

“The Prevent Strategy should outline more clearly the actions to be taken to tackle far right radicalisation as well as explicitly acknowledge the potential interplay between different forms of violent extremism, and the potential for measures directed at far-right extremism to have a consequential effect on Islamist extremism, and vice versa.”

A rally was held in Newport, south Wales in support of the Muslim community after a number of Muslim graves were desecrated at the Christchurch Cemetery last month, the South Wales Argus reports.

Unite Against Fascism Wales had called for a rally to bring together people from different groups, religions, cultures and communities and for them to show a united front against racism.

Mubarak Ali, secretary for the Islamic Society for Wales, addressing the rally said that he was sure the desecration of Muslim graves was an attempt to exploit the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.

Last month, vandals used white paint to write ‘Lee Rigby murder’ and ‘white power’ on a number of gravestones at Christchurch Cemetery. They also drew Nazi swastikas and wrote the initials BNP, UKIP and NF.

Speaking at the event, Mr Ali said: “In the wake of the brutal murder of soldier Lee Rigby and the desecration of Muslim graves in Newport, we want to show extremists and racists they will not divide us.”

“The British Muslim community condemns the murder of Lee Rigby and it is despicable that Muslims should be held to account and suffer in this way.

“Muslims from this community have lived peacefully with their neighbours for many years, and we should not let this act divide us.”

ITV News has a report on the protest organised by the English Defence League against a halal abattoir in Skegness on Saturday.

The abattoir has attracted the attention of a number of far right groups with both the British National Party and the National Front having organised protests there in the past.

The news report can be seen here. Look out for the placard bearing newspaper front page stories on halal meat, this one from the Mail on Sunday and this from the Daily Star.

Regional news site, Wales Online, reports that race hate crimes and incidents in the South Wales region have more than doubled following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south London in May.

The site reports “In the two weeks after the 25-year-old soldier died in May, South Wales Police recorded 60 racially aggravated hate crimes and 108 racially aggravated incidents.

“This compares to 26 racially aggravated hate crimes and 52 racially aggravated hate incidents logged by officers in the same fortnight last year.”

Among crimes that have been reported in the region include strips of bacon which were left at the entrance of the Shah Jalal mosque in Cardiff and the desecration of Muslim graves in a Newport cemetery.

Saleem Kidwai, general secretary of the Muslim Council of Wales, said the figures were likely to be an underestimation given the low level of official reporting of anti-Muslim hate crimes. He added, “We were expecting the backlash so the figures aren’t really surprising.” 

“Things have settled down and while it’s very difficult to say whether it was a one off, we haven’t received any reports recently.”

The news follows a report from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, revealing that anti-Muslim hate crimes in the capital rose eightfold in the two weeks following Drummer Lee Rigby’s death.

BBC News and Scottish TV channel, STV, both reported on the permission refused by Glasgow City Council to the Scottish Defence League application to stage a protest on Pollockshields.

The SDL, whose planned protest drew strong reservations from local councillors and Police Scotland, wanted to hold a ‘memorial event’ to mark the birthday of murdered teenager of Kriss Donald.

Glasgow City Council refused permission for the protest after objections were raised concerning its timing and location.

Conservative Councillor for Pollokshields David Meikle said: “I’m delighted Glasgow City Council has refused the SDL permission to march in my ward, Pollokshields.

“I submitted a formal objection to the council as I strongly believed the march should not be approved because if it was there would have been an impact on public safety and order as well as disruption to the community in Pollokshields.

“I’m sure local residents will also welcome the decision of the council to refuse this march.”

Local paper, the Surrey Comet, reports that Chessington World of Adventures has been inundated with complaints after a far-right group blogged about the booking of the theme park for the Islamic festival of Eid and urged readers to complain.

According to the paper, a far-right blog committed to “expossing [sic] the evil of Islam” noted the private booking and urged readers to contact the theme park to complain.

A park spokeswoman said the park would be closed from November 4 until December 7 and that private bookings were available during this time.

She added: “This is one of many private hire events held in our “close season” at the park and we do not discriminate against any religions or faiths.

“The event is open to all faiths.”

West Midlands Police Deputy Chief Constable Dave Thompson attacked what he called the ‘low level of media coverage’ of bomb attacks in the West Midlands, the Birmingham Mail reports.

Writing on his blog, DCC Thompson said he believed the press would have dealt with the attacks rather differently had the attacks targetted “another faith”.

He wrote: “Our circulation of the picture of alleged suspects in the mosque attacks drew very little coverage; that was frustrating at a time we needed public help.

‘‘I wonder if you picked another faith and said that there would be a series of bombings at places of worship during a major religious period and the police had a picture of the alleged attacker you might think it would get more coverage?’’

Ukranian engineering student Pavlo Lapshyn, 25, was arrested last week and charged with the alleged murder of Muslim grandfather Mohammed Saleem, 75, who was killed as he walked home after evening prayers at his local mosque in April.

Lapshyn has also been charged with intent to commit acts of terrorism and unlawfully and maliciously causing an explosion with the intent to danger life or cause serious injury to a person or property following the discovery of detonated bombs outside the Aisha mosque, Walsall, Kanz Ul Iman mosque in Tipton and Wolverhampton’s Central Mosque between April 24 and July 18.

Writing about the English Defence League demonstration in Birmingham last weekend, Dep Chief Con Thompson said: “The force faced the combined threat of a person allegedly engaged in serial terror attacks on the Muslim community and a major EDL demonstration. The force needed to catch the offender, prevent further attacks, work with communities and manage their concerns and police a major public order threat.

“With the appearance in court of Pavlo Lapshyn, charged with murder and other terrorism matters, and the great skill in which the EDL event was managed the results so far have been outstanding.

“It happened because of great action at so many different levels.”