North London mosque attack: Time to treat Islamophobia seriously

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The Muslim Council of Britain today expressed its shock at the reported firebomb attack of a North London mosque in the early hours of this morning. Fire crews are said to have seen the words ‘EDL’ scrawled on the side of the building.

Farooq Murad, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “This is the latest in a series of attacks on Muslim institutions since the horrific murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. The British Muslim community came out in droves to condemn this murder, and it is despicable that Muslims should be held to account and suffer in this way.”

He added: “It is time for serious action against such crimes. We had fine and decisive words from our leaders condemning the actions of the English Defence League, now we need a proper response from our police authorities, starting with a national police response to this issue. Admirably, local police forces and borough commanders have been liaising with communities. Now we need to hear from the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and the leaders of Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) as to what they will be doing to protect against this rise in attacks.”

Commenting on the oxygen of publicity extremists thrive on, Mr Murad appealed to the media to exercise their responsibility: “Extremists are not thriving on the margins, but very much in the public mainstream. At worst, anti-Muslim sentiment is being stoked up by some commentators and some public figures; at best, some are playing down the physical attacks claiming that we are ‘overhyping the backlash’. Meanwhile, journalists are falling over themselves to give a platform to publicity seekers who do not speak in our name.”

Urging unity in all our communities, Farooq Murad said: “We are reminded by the words of Drummer Lee Rigby’s family and his Regiment who have warned against reprisal attacks. In spite of these attacks, we are heartened by the many more acts of solidarity that has taken place. In addition to the hate mail, we have received many messages of support from all faith communities.”

MCB news release, 5 June 2013

Update:  See “Muslims fear ‘wave of attacks'”, Evening Standard, 6 June 2013