A Muslim man has been beaten to death outside a corner shop by a gang of youths who shouted anti-Islamic abuse at him, the Guardian has learned. Kamal Raza Butt, 48, from Pakistan, was visiting Britain to see friends and family. On Sunday afternoon he went to a shop in Nottingham to buy cigarettes and was first called “Taliban” by the youths and then set upon.
Nottinghamshire police described the incident as racially aggravated, not as Islamophobic, angering Muslim groups and surprising some senior officers. They say it was not connected to a backlash against Muslims following the London bombings, which has seen mosques firebombed and Muslims attacked in the street.
On Monday the case was discussed at the Muslim Safety Forum, where senior police officers and Muslim community representatives meet. Senior sources who were at the meeting last night said it was the view of all present that the killing was a hate crime triggered by his faith.
Muslim leaders last night said the killing and the fact that it was Islamophobic would heighten anxiety in their communities, which was already high before the London bombings and which has deepened with every report of attacks.