Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Dundee Evening Telegraph reports on an anti-Muslim hate crime incident alleged to have happened at the Kobee restaurant in the city on the evening of 28 December.

The local paper reports that a couple entered the restaurant at around 7.30pm to collect a takeaway order. As the couple waited for their order to be prepared, they saw a Muslim male enter the restaurant accompanied by two young women. The group of three were seated at a table in the restaurant’s dining area.

As the couple were handed their takeaway order, the woman made her way into the seating section and is said to have stood at one end of the table at which the Muslim man and the two young women were seated.

Alastair Robb, the restaurant manager, said that at first he had assumed the woman knew the group but he heard the female make abusive remarks and asked her to leave the restaurant.

He told the local paper, “I heard the woman say, ‘I hate Muslims’ towards them.”

He added: “I was absolutely disgusted when I heard what she was saying.

“Straight away I told the woman and the man to leave.

“I phoned the police after they left. To hear that kind of thing is sickening. It’s 2015 and you would think people would know better than to shout racist abuse.”

Valy Ossman, owner of the Kobee restaurant said the incident was indicative of reports of anti Muslim abuse in other parts of the country. He said, “There is absolutely no excuse for any sort of hate crime taking place anywhere in the UK today, let alone in the restaurant – it cannot be tolerated.”

Police Scotland have confirmed that they are investigating the incident. A police spokesperson told the local paper “Police Scotland can confirm that officers are investigating an incident within a restaurant in Dock Street, Dundee, where a woman is reported to have made abusive comments towards a man.”

No arrests have been reported and police inquiries into the incident are ongoing.

The London Evening Standard and The Mirror report on an alleged Islamophobic attack in east London in which a Muslim male was left with serious injuries.

The LES reports that the incident happened on the afternoon of Sunday 20 December, when a Muslim male was parking up his car as he picked up his young family near Bow.

The 26 year old victim said he heard a white van slow down as he approached with the occupants allegedly shouting racist terms at him. He said that as he exited his car and walked past the white van, two men got out. The victim claims the men called him “a p***” and “a Muslim”. The victim told the LES, “Without any communication from me, one of them punched me on my nose and the other had me in a headlock. I thought I was going to pass out.

“I got hit on my leg with a ratchet, which has broken my leg and I’ve had to have an operation on it.

“They stamped on my head and all over me like a football.

“I was then getting kicked and kicked and it lasted for about seven or eight minutes.

“I was in fear of my life.”

The LES reports that the victim sustained “a broken leg, which had to be repaired with metal plates, a broken nose, a smashed tooth which requires extraction and head injuries” in the assault. He was so badly hit that one suspect left a footprint indent on the victim’s forehead.

The Metropolitan Police have issued an appeal in connection with the alleged assault and details of three suspects who are being sought for questioning. All three suspects are white.

“Suspect 1 was 5ft 7ins tall wearing a light shirt. He had dark hair.

“Suspect 2 was 5ft 5ins tall wearing a Lacoste shirt. He had light hair

“Suspect 3 was described as taller than the other two suspects.”

The incident is being treated as “racially aggravated” because of what was said to the victim at the time of the assault.

The appeal notice has been updated to reveal that “On 22 December two men – aged 24 [A] and 27 [B] – were arrested in Bethnal Green on suspicion of grievous bodily harm with intent. Both were taken into custody at an east London police station. They were both later bailed to return on a date in mid February pending further enquiries.”

The Daily Record reports on the trial of a teenager who was charged with two counts of racially aggravated assault after he attacked two Muslims at a grocery store in South Lanarkshire.

The 16 year old who cannot be named for legal reasons pleaded guilty to the charges but denied two further charges of theft and “acting in a racially-aggravated manner by repeatedly making racially offensive and threatening remarks”.

Hamilton Sheriff Court heard that on 18 October the teenager assaulted Murtaza Ghulam in a grocery shop by repeatedly punching him on the head. The teenager also hit him with a shoe and threw a basket at him in the shop. The teenager also assaulted Mohammed Zulfiqar at the store hitting him on the head.

Sheriff Douglas Brown passed a non-custodial sentence imposing a community payback order on the teen. The 16 year old was placed on a nine months’ supervision order and must carry out 140 hours’ unpaid work within six months.

Another teenager, Dale Gardiner 19, who pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing to a charge of conducting himself in a disorderly manner by making threatening remarks and committing a breach of the peace will stand trial on 3 March. He has been released on bail.

Local news website Get Surrey reveals that police are appealing for information after a spate of vandalism in Woking, Surrey which saw anti Muslim graffiti sprayed onto businesses and homes in the area.

The incident happened sometime between 11pm on Monday 7 December and 8.40am on Tuesday 8 December.

The local news site reports that the words “ISIS paedo” and “Just us whites here” were found daubed in bright yellow paint on the shutters of an Indian and Chinese restaurant, The Village and Tiang respectively, in St John’s Road.

Residents say that graffiti has also appeared elsewhere in the local area in the past two weeks.

Surrey police are seeking information about a group of men and one woman caught on CCTV cameras whom they wish to speak to in connection with the investigation into the vandalism.

Owner of The Village restaurant, Syed Jahangir, told the local news site, “We’ve been a little scared by this.”

“I’ve been here a long time – nearly 20 years – and it’s a lovely village.

“This is the first time anything like this has happened. At first I thought someone was targeting me, but then I saw it was on other properties,” he said.

The hate crime incident was reported to Woking Borough Council which took steps to remove the offensive graffiti.

Woking Neighbourhood Team Sergeant Andy Crane said: “Racially aggravated criminal damage such as this has absolutely no place in our society and will not be tolerated.

“I would like to reassure the public that we take these kinds of incidents extremely seriously and are committed to bringing whoever is responsible to justice.

“We have increased our patrols in the area and are engaging with the community,” he said.

Anyone with information about who might be responsible is urged to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 45150111078.

The London Evening Standard and local news website Get West London report on the discovery of anti Islam graffiti and a pig’s head on the streets of Hounslow.

The local report notes that graffiti appeared on the pavement along Bath Road reading “Muslims hate us” and “Muslims are terrorists”. The former has since been changed to read “Muslims hate racists”.

Hate-filled graffiti has also been reported further up by a bus stop outside a small parade of shops opposite Saints’ Michael and Martin Church. The graffiti is close to where a pig’s head was found in an alleyway.

Local residents reported the incident to the police and have supplied the local news site with photos of the offending scrawling.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that an incident report had been logged. Investigations are ongoing and there have been no arrests made yet.

The London Evening Standard and Mirror report on an alleged Islamophobic incident on a London bus last Sunday.

Iqra Mohamed, 20, posted a message on Twitter about the alleged incident on the number 43 bus in Islington, north London at around 5.30pm on Sunday 20 December.

Ms Mahmood posted the tweet: “A white man spat at me in a buss [sic] of people and kept on cussing me out cause of my Hijaab while people smiled a laughed along.”

Speaking to the London Evening Standard, Ms Mahmood said that the abuse started when she was on the bus with a friend. The two of them heard a man mumbling on the bus and when her friend got up to disembark, she followed her and moved further along to the front of the bus. She said the man moved further along to and his abuse become louder. Mahmood alleges the man called her “a racist and a terrorist”.

She said, “He started to go crazy. He said people like me were coming into this country and taking all the jobs.”

Ms Mahmood, who was waiting for another friend to board the bus at a later stop, remained on the bus. She claims that though the bus was full, no-one intervened to help her or object to the man’s abuse. She said, “I do think it’s sad no one spoke up for me. The bus was full at one point and you could tell no one wanted anything to deal with him.

“A couple of young black boys ran upstairs crying when it was happening,” she added.

Ms Mahmood said the abuse ended when her friend Fatima boarded the bus at a later stop and confronted the man.

Ms Mahmood has reported the incident to British Transport Police.

Steve Burton, TfL’s director of enforcement and on-street operations, said: “We do not tolerate racist behaviour of any kind on our bus network and we will work with the police to investigate this incident. Crime on London’s transport network has fallen for the last nine years to an all-time low and we continue to work hard to ensure that all of our customers are able to travel with confidence.”

According to statistics published by British Transport Police in August, there has been a minor decrease in the number of racially aggravated harassment offences on the UK’s transport network from 1,189 in 2013-2014 to 1,171 in 2014-15, a 1.5% decrease. But in recent months, a number of anti-Muslim incidents on public transport have been reported raising concerns about passenger safety whilst travelling.

The Nottingham Post reports on the sentencing of a man who abused a Muslim taxi driver making incendiary remarks about “Allah”.

The local paper reports on the case against Thomas Clark, 28, heard at Nottingham Magistrates Court this week.

The court heard that on July 17, Clark and a friend got into a cab which was waiting to pick up a reserved fare. When the cab driver realised that Clark was not the passenger who had made the reservation, he asked him and his friend to leave the cab. Clark refused saying, “No, take me home.”

With the passengers refusing to leave the cab, the driver set off in the direction of the police station. On the journey, Clark began to enquire about the driver’s nationality. When the driver told Clark he was from Kashmir, Clark began to make derogatory comments about “Allah”. The driver described Clark as “angry and aggressive” and said he told him “Don’t be offensive about my religion.”

The driver said that Clark began punching the back of his seat in the car and when they arrived at the police station, the driver got out of the cab.

After another confrontation, Clark again made derogatory comments prompting the driver to tell police officers, “I should not be subject to abuse directed at my religion.”

Clark was also accused of pinching the driver.

Clark pleaded not guilty to one charge of racially aggravated assault and one charge of religiously aggravated assault. He was convicted by a bench of magistrates and the case has been adjourned for reports.

Clark was ordered to carry out 180 hours unpaid community work and to pay £1,680 in costs. He must also pay £200 in compensation to the victim.

Several newspapers today cover the intervention by Walthamstow MP, Stella Creasy, to press the US Embassy in London for answers as to why a Muslim family of 11 from her constituency were denied boarding a US bound flight from Gatwick airport despite having acquired travel authorisation in advance (The Guardian, The Independent, Metro, London Evening Standard, The Times and ITV News).

Last week, BBC News reported that Mohammed Zahid Mahmood and his family, including his brother Tariq Mahmood and nine of their children aged between eight and 19, were approached by US officials while waiting in the departure lounge awaiting boarding only to be informed that they would not be allowed to board the Norwegian Airlines flight to Los Angeles. The family were offered no explanation other than to be told that US officials had raised objections to their travel to the country. The family had been due to visit family in California as well as Disneyland.

Mr Mahmood’s local MP, Creasy, has tried to get answers from the US Embassy in London concerning her constituents’ treatment but said she had “hit a brick wall” with no answers forthcoming. She has now written to the Prime Minister urging him to press American officials to provide an explanation to the family. Mr Mahmood has said that the family has spent £8,000-£9,000 on their holiday but have received no indication that a refund will be issued after their travel plans were derailed.

In an op-ed piece in The Guardian today Creasy writes, “The family trying to get to California were due to leave last Tuesday – that a week later they have yet to receive any details at all as to why they were prevented from travelling only adds their distress. Yet there has been no further contact from either the UK or American security services to follow up any potential threat that they are perceived to represent.

“The vacuum created by a refusal to provide any context for these decisions is fuelling resentment and debate. Online and offline discussions reverberate with the growing fear that UK Muslims are being “trumped” – that widespread condemnation of Donald Trump’s call for no Muslim to be allowed into America contrasts with what is going on in practice.

“While the philosophy of Isis may seek to corrupt Islam and divide our world, our actions should actively protect its true peaceful nature, both at home and abroad. For the sake of national security and national cohesion, the government must not look the other way as our citizens increasingly fear the possibility of flying sanctions without reparation.”

Creasy said, “If the [US] embassy won’t answer to the family’s MP, it should answer to their prime minister and he to us about what he is doing to ensure that no British citizen is being discriminated against for their faith on our shores.”

The Guardian last Friday reported on a statement released by Waltham Forest Council of Mosques announcing a boycott of the Government’s “racist” counter-terrorism programme, Prevent.

The statement follows a council meeting last Thursday in which a motion was presented which linked the stabbing at Leytonstone tube station with the “need to have programmes such as Prevent in schools.” A sentence linking the incident with the Prevent strand of the counter-terrorism strategy was removed from the motion passed in the Council chamber after objections were raised to the linkage.

Waltham Forest Council has recently come under sustained scrutiny after a questionnaire was distributed in a selection of schools in the borough, ones notably with a large Muslim student population, which asked various leading questions about religious observance and practice. The schools, including Buxton Primary school, apologised after parents criticised the “profiling” of primary school children as part of the Council’s BRIT (Building Resilience through Integration and Trust) programme.

The statement by WFCOM is the strongest signal issued by a community organisation rejecting the Prevent policy and its negative impact on Muslim communities.

In the statement, WFCOM said “The [BRIT] project itself and Prevent in general is an ill-conceived and flawed policy. It is racist, and overtly targets members of the Muslim faith. This has been demonstrated by organisations who are collecting data on referrals to the [anti-radicalisation] Channel programme … We see the Brit project as another tool being used (like the Prevent strategy) to spy and denigrate the Muslim community and cause distrust. We have no confidence in the Brit project and the Prevent strategy overall.”

Irfan Akhtar, a member of the council of mosques, welcomed the council’s U-turn on the motion presented at the council meeting last week but insisted that the boycott remained in place.

“Prevent is a toxic brand.

“We are fighting the implementation of Prevent and will not let it into the mosques. We want to work closely with all teachers on safeguarding of children of all faiths and none. We think that Waltham Forest is a testing ground for Prevent programmes and this is a wake-up call that we are not just going to accept Prevent in our community,” he said.

The WFCOM statement comes days after imams in the east London borough of Newham issued a statement criticising the Prevent programme for “spying on our young people” and “exclusively targeting young Muslims for the views they hold on religion or issues such as government foreign policy”.

The Prevent policy, which was given statutory footing in the Counter Terrorism and Security Act, has been roundly criticised for alienating Muslims and for hampering student education through over-zealous monitoring of Muslim students in schools and in universities for signs of radicalisation.

The Huddersfield Examiner reports on the sentencing of a heroin addict who racially abused a shop assistant at a pharmacy.

Kirklees Magistrates Court heard that Richard Hall, 36, had visited Lockwood Pharmacy on 26 August for his prescribed heroin replacement drug. But after Hall was caught stealing £20 from the till, shop assistant Ibrar Khokar refused to serve him. Hall became verbally abusive calling Khokar a “P***”.

Hall was found guilty of attempted theft, threatening behaviour and racially-aggravated threatening behaviour.

Magistrates sentenced Hall to a community order as a direct alternative to custody. Hall was ordered to complete 20 days of rehabilitative activities and a nine-month drug rehabilitation order.

Hall also has to abide by a two-week curfew and pay £1,000 court charge, £200 costs and £60 victim surcharge.