A year ago today, Darren Osbourne, a far right sympathiser hired a rented van to deliberately drive into Muslim worshippers outside the Muslim Welfare House as they finished their prayers, killing 51 year old Makram Ali and injuring 12 other worshippers in a devastating terror attack.
Our solidarity, prayers and thoughts are with the victims and their families at this difficult time.
The Muslim Council of Britain has long spoken out about the worrying scale of Islamophobia.
Since the devastating terrorist attack in Finsbury Park, Muslim communities have suffered from arson attacks against mosques e.g. Manchester (July 2017), Leeds (June 2018), the nationwide Punish a Muslim Day scare and the distribution of letters with powder to Muslims across the UK, including MPs.
This only touches the surface of a worrying new array of other hate crimes against Muslims in the past year. The trend is borne out by statistics which show hate crimes targeting Mosques and other Muslim places of worship across the UK more than double between 2016 and 2017. A government report has also found that four attacks have been carried out in Britain over the past five years “by lone actors motivated to varying degrees by extreme right-wing ideologies”, and The Times uncovered that about 40 neo-Nazis were being investigated by police amid fears that they are plotting terrorist attacks against Muslims around the country.
Many shudder to think what the future year might hold.
Last year following the terrorist attack, the Prime Minister powerfully said “there has been far too much tolerance of extremism in our country over many years – and that means extremism of any kind, including Islamophobia.”
A year later, whilst it is welcome to see the re-opening of the fund for security of places of worship, we have not seen progress against the Hate Crime Action Plan, and little meaningful action against the scourge of Islamophobia.
As we all work together to build stronger bonds between communities, the structural Islamophobia and that within wider society must be tackled once and for all. Anything less, will not do.[Ends]