Mosque attacks ‘going unreported’

British Muslims are not reporting attacks on mosques because they fear that to do so could raise racial tension.

Imran Rizvi, the chief spokesman on race for Manchester City Council’s ruling Labour group, said mosques had been attacked and congregations had received telephone threats. In Greater Manchester there had been “at least half a dozen attacks” on mosques and Islamic centres since Tuesday of last week.

Three incidents have been officially reported to police – two of them in Manchester, the other in Bolton where a mosque was firebombed. No one has been injured. Mr Rizvi’s remarks indicate that attacks in other towns and cities are also going unreported.

“We are not giving details because that will create tension,” said the councillor. “But there have been at least half a dozen attacks in Greater Manchester. These have included telephone threats along the lines of ‘We are going to burn you down’. There have also been other threats, intimidation and graffiti.”

Mr Rizvi, who was speaking as the city council hosted a private meeting of civic, religious and community leaders, said he believed that threats had been issued by “a small handful of idiots” who may or may not be members of racist organisations.

“There is that level of fear. You have only to look at what is happening in Bradford, Glasgow, Birmingham and London, where a taxi driver has been paralysed. Issues like that are very frightening. We want people to be vigilant and to contact the police. We will not tolerate this behaviour.”

Daily Telegraph, 20 September 2001