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Ilford North MP calls for police to visit mosques in lead-up to ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ threats

PUBLISHED: 13:00 13 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:01 13 March 2018

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting responds to Punish a Muslim Day letters. Photo: Hansard

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting responds to Punish a Muslim Day letters. Photo: Hansard

Archant

Police should visit mosques and community centres across the country following threats to Muslims, Ilford North MP Wes Streeting has urged.

Speaking in the Commons yesterday, Monday, March 12, Mr Streeting asked the government to implement police visits after households across the UK, including east London, reported receiving a letter inciting violence against Muslims on April 3, which the letter called Punish a Muslim Day.

Addressing Victoria Atkins, parliamentary under secretary of state for crime, safeguarding and vulnerability, he said: “Will the minister make a commitment to the House that the government will not only take action on online publishers of this kind of extremism.

“But, in the weeks leading up to the first week of April, ensure that every mosque and Muslim community centre in the country receives a visit from their police to give them adequate security advice, to ensure that the Muslim community know that the authorities are 100pc with them and on their side?”

Printed on A4 paper, the letter encourages readers to carry out list of violent acts from pulling the headscarf off a woman, to throwing acid in the face and ending with “nuke Mecca,” next to a point-based scoring system for performing them.

The letter has reportedly been received in locations including Bradford, Leicester, London, Cardiff and Sheffield.

Counter terror police are investigating the letters, treating them as a possible hate crime.

In his speech, Mr Streeting stated these letter must be viewed in the context of “the flames of prejudice” being fanned by the comments of mainstream newspapers and mainstream politicians, as well as bystanders who “choose to look away.”

Responding to his request, Ms Atkins stated that she would happily issue letters to each chief constable.

She added: “It is a matter for chief constables, but we expect that mosques will be protected.”

Ghazanfar Ali is chairman of the Ilford Islamic Centre in Albert Road. “I wholeheartedly agree that this needs to be tackled by the police as soon as possible,” he said.

He added: “I think it’s quite right to call for this with such a firm threat suggesting that this kind of behaviour should be carried out.”

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