Anti-Muslim backlash after Woolwich (updated)

Al-Rahma Islamic Centre fire (3)

A list of press reports of Islamophobic crimes following the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich on Wednesday 22 May 2013 (updated)

22 May:  Attack on Al Falah Islamic Centre in Braintree, Essex. A man brandishing two knives threw a smoke bomb into the mosque shouting “I’ll kill you Muslims”. Geoffrey Ryan, who has links to the English Defence League and the international “counterjihad” movement, was arrested and charged with possession of offensive weapons and affray. He subsequently received a nine-month prison sentence.

22 May 2013:  Attack on Gillingham Mosque. A man entered the building and began smashing up a bookcase and windows. Andrew Grindlay was arrested and charged with religiously aggravated criminal damage and burglary. He pleaded not guilty and was subsequently acquitted.

22 May:  Bacon and pork were left outside the Shah Jalal mosque in Cardiff.

30 July:  Paul Fisher of Livingston posted a call to “behead ragheads” on the “Stop Destroying Our Armed Forces” Facebook page. He admitted that his message was “intended to incite others to carry out serious violence and kill others” and was sentenced to 270 hours of unpaid work and put under social work supervision for two years.

23 May:  During the night following the Woolwich killing the words “Hell 2 Muslims. EDL!” were painted on a wall in Mitcham, south London.

23 May:  Vandalism at Maidenhead Mosque. When the caretaker arrived to open up in the morning he found that stones had been thrown at the building and a window broken.

23 May:  Graffiti attack on Masjid-e-Usman in Bolton. The words “Islam = Evil” and “Terrorist training camp” were sprayed on the wall and door of the mosque and “Terrorist inside” on a car parked outside.

23 May:  In the early hours of the morning two Bristol men were arrested under the Public Order Act on suspicion of inciting racial or religious hatred, after complaints about comments made on Twitter in connection with the Woolwich murder. They were bailed pending further inquiries.

23 May:  Police were on guard outside the Baitul Futuh Mosque in south London after calls for the mosque to be burned down were posted on a far-right Facebook page, True British Patriots. A man named Dean Wyatt received a caution from police for tweeting: “Anyone fancy doing the mosque in morden over?”

23 May:  Attack on Dorset Islamic Cultural Centre in Poole. Four men attacked the building in the middle of the afternoon and smashed its windows. Robert Mullins, Trevor Mullins, Michael Manyweathers and Jeremy Rochester were subsequently charged with racially aggravated criminal damage. Rochester was also charged with assault. They received 4-month prison sentences and were ordered to pay £150 each in damages.

23 May:  Attack on Dixy Chicken in Upton Park. Two men entered a Muslim-owned fried chicken shop in east London that evening and shouted “You killed one of our soldiers, we’ll kill you” before vandalising the shop.

23 May:  Arson attack on the Zainabia Islamic Centre in Milton Keynes. A lighted bottle of inflammable liquid was thrown onto the roof of the building during the evening. About 30 people were inside at the time and they managed to put out the fire.

23 May:  Attack on Grimsby Mosque. Bricks were thrown through the windows of the building by a gang of drunken youths, narrowly missing people inside, and cars outside were damaged. Eleven teenagers were arrested in connection with the attack.

23 May:  Attack on Folkestone Mosque. A rock was thrown at the front door of the building while worshippers were inside, and just after the incident four young girls walked past and made racist comments.

23 May:  Paint bomb attack on Belfast Islamic Centre. A bottle containing paint was thrown at the building and two teenage boys were seen fleeing the scene.

23 May:  A Lincoln man, Benjamin Flatters, was arrested over alleged racist comments made about Muslims on Facebook on the evening after the Woolwich murder. He was charged with posting messages of an indecent or grossly offensive nature for the purpose of causing distress or anxiety. He was remanded in custody.

23 May:  Ryan Harbinson posted a comment on Facebook: “Anyone up for starting our own series of terrorist attacks, little bit of petroleum would set fire to the mosque nicely :)” He was convicted at Falkirk Sheriff Court of breaching the peace and fined £1,000.

24 May:  Graffiti attack on Bournemouth Islamic Centre and Central Mosque.  The words “Muslim scum” were daubed in red on the walls of the building during Thursday night.

24 May:  85-year-old Audrey Rose was arrested outside Gillingham Mosque after she abused worshippers attending Friday prayers, shouting “go back to your own country”. She admitted racially aggravated harassment and received a six month conditional discharge.

24 May:  A Bolton man was arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred after posting Facebook comments about the Woolwich murder and was bailed pending further inquiries.

24 May:  An English Defence League activist named Adam Rogers was arrested in connection with a series of “vile” and “inflammatory” messages that he posted on Facebook, in which he threatened to burn down a mosque in retaliation for the killing of Lee Rigby. He pleaded guilty to the charge of sending an indecent, obscene, or menacing message and received a 16-week suspended prison sentence.

24 May:  Peter Levers was arrested and charged with racially aggravated harrassment after shouting “Muslims, I’ll kill them all” at a taxi driver in Chesterfield town centre, in retaliation for Lee Rigby’s killing. He pleaded guilty and was fined £120.

24 May:  Khadija Mohamed, a hijab-wearing nurse from Newcastle, was knocked to the floor by a man shouting “You’re one of them, you’re one of them”.

24 May:  A pig’s head was thrown into Blackpool Central Mosque during prayer time. Thomas Ashton, Travis Crabtree, Andrew Warner and Steven White pleaded guilty to causing religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress. Ashton was given 10 months in prison, Warner 7 months, Crabtree 14 months and White 8 months.

25 May:  Ahead of an English Defence League demonstration in Newcastle, Northumbria Police said that they had arrested three people, two from Gateshead and a third from Stockton, for posting racist comments on Twitter.

25 May:  Four people were arrested during an English Defence League protest outside the Jami Mosque in Portsmouth, two of them for racially aggravated public order offences.

25 May:  An English Defence League supporter named Tony Perrin was arrested over threatening comments on Facebook in response to the death of Lee Rigby. He posted a photo of himself wearing a balaclava and pointing a gun at the camera, accompanied by the warning: “I will do a lot worse than what took place yesterday and I have like minded people behind me. You muslims aren’t the only people that make explosives and your not the only people willing to commit acts of insane violence. Watch this space.”

25 May:  English Defence League supporters clashed with police following a “Help for Heroes” march through Bristol. Lee Cousins was arrested after he mocked a Muslim prayer ritual by getting down on his hands and knees in the road before shouting racial slurs involving Muslims and Allah. He pleaded guilty to racially/religiously aggravated harassment or alarm and was fined £500. Altogether 19 people were arrested and 12 charged with various public order offences.

25 May:  Mark Carr racially abused two Muslim women in Chesterfield town centre, shouting “fuck off, Muslim bastard” and “fuck off and go back to your own country”. He pleaded guilty to racially aggravated threatening behaviour and was ordered to pay £1,000 in compensation.

26 May:  Armed police raided a tenpin bowling alley in Barnwood, Gloucestershire, after a teenager employed there brought a gun into work claiming that it was for “protection against Muslims”.

26 May:  Vandals daubed sick racist graffiti about Muslims and the Qur’an on a Plymouth underpass, along with a reference to the killing of Lee Rigby.

26 May:  John Killeen, who was living in a hostel in Charlton, threatened a fellow resident with a knife and shouted that he would “kill all Muslims”. He received a six-month prison sentence.

26 May:  Arson attack on Grimsby Mosque. Despite the mosque being under police guard following the earlier attack, three petrol bombs were thrown at the building. People were in the mosque at the time, including a family with young children. Two ex-soldiers, Stuart Harness and Gavin Humphries, pleaded guilty to the arson attack and a third man, Daniel Cressey, was convicted of aiding and abetting them. Harness and Humphries were each sentenced to six years in prison, while Cressey got three years.

26 May:  Kevin Dunne told Newport taxi driver Shabir Ahmed: “You know what happened last week in London? It was one of your brothers who done it.” He then head butted Mr Ahmed and punched him twice in the face. Dunne received a 7-month prison sentence for racially aggravated assault.

26 May:  A cyclist tried to pull a Muslim woman’s face veil off as she walked with her family to Leicester’s Victoria Park.

26 May:  Grant Gallagher caused a disturbance outside the mosque in Livingston, West Lothian. He was heard shouting: “The soldier was innocent. He didn’t deserve to die – you terrorists killed him.” He angrily grabbed the gate with both hands and shook it, screaming racist abuse. He was convicted of racially aggravated threatening and abusive behaviour and was fined £150.

27 May:  Police were called to Brixton Mosque at 3am after a stone was thrown at the building, breaking a window.

27 May:  Racist slogans were daubed on a security door, pavements and commercial bin in a back street in Burnley, alongside the initials of the English Defence League and British National Party.

27 May:  John Parkin pleaded guilty at a special court to religiously aggravated disorderly behaviour after threatening to burn down a mosque in Rhyl, north Wales. Magistrates committed him in custody for sentencing by a Crown Court judge. During a previous incident near the mosque, when Parkin threatened to blow it up and shoot Muslims in the head, he told police he was a member of the English Defence League.

27 May:  Two men were charged with racially aggravated public order offences arising from an English Defence League protest in Walsall the previous Saturday.

28 May:  The Daily Mirror reported that a Northern Premier League footballer named Shaun Tuck was being investigated by police following Twitter comments in which he urged people to riot and “bomb and gas every mosque in England” in revenge for Lee Rigby’s death, and called for Muslim children to beheaded, while also declaring his support for the English Defence League. Tuck was later charged under Section 127 of the Communications Act and received a 12-week prison sentence.

29 May:  Edinburgh police confirmed that they were investigating racist comments posted on Twitter under the handle @edininfidel. These included “lets start to take revenge burn the mosques kill the paki bastards kids fist [sic] stop them breeding”. Foysol Choudhury, chairman of the Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council, told the press that he had heard reports of racist abuse on the streets too.

29 May:  Mohammed Kozbar of the Finsbury Park Mosque in north London told the local paper that worshippers had been subjected to verbal abuse, being sworn at and called terrorists, and that this had been reported to the police.

29 May:  David Lee appeared at Bury Magistrates’ Court charged over threats and racist abuse against Muslims posted during 22-23 May in response to the Woolwich murder. One comment read: “if just one person petrol bombed any local muslim business in their area, that would be the end of them in one day.” Lee pleaded guilty to sending messages of a grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character and was warned he could face jail.

30 May:  Gary Abbott was arrested outside the Huntingdon Islamic Education and Prayer Centre after police responded to a disturbance during which a window was smashed. He was charged with racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage. Released on bail, Abbott returned to the mosque and shouted obscenities, and was charged with religiously aggravated harassment. He received a four-week prison sentence.

31 May:  Racist graffiti was found on the wall of a Muslim prayer hall in Pleasington Cemetery in Blackburn. The words “Islam pedos”, “Islam murders” and “scum”, were accompanied by the letters “EDL”.

31 May:  Leon Ramsey threw glasses and a bottle at a mosque in Cleethorpes and swore about Muslims. He admitted using religiously aggravated threatening words or behaviour, and was given a nine-month supervision order, a two-year drink banning order and ordered to pay £300 costs.

1 June:  Racist graffiti was daubed on a former pub in Lingfield that is being turned into an Muslim-run community centre.

3 June:  A man was arrested after going on a racist rampage through Aylesbury’s Alfred Rose Park, attacking an elderly woman and smashing the doors and windows of a house. The Bucks Herald reported that it was the latest in a series of racist incidents that had followed the death of Lee Rigby.

4 June:  A swastika was painted on the door of a building in Worcester Park, Surrey, which is subject to a planning application for conversion into a mosque.

5 June:  The al-Rahma Islamic Centre in north London was destroyed in what police later confirmed was an arson attack. The letters “EDL” had been scrawled on the side of the building.

6 June:  In East Grinstead the words “Dead Muslim” were written on door of a Muslim woman’s home in an incident police believed was inspired by the Woolwich murder.

6 June:  Joshua Collinson-Prime, William Jacey, Leon Jackson, Daniel Mooney and a 17-year-old youth who could not be named for legal reasons attacked the Mai Thai restaurant in Cambridge, assaulting Muslim and Thai workers while hurling racist abuse and chanting “EDL”. They pleaded guilty to violent disorder and racially aggravated threatening behaviour. Jacey was jailed for a year, Collinson-Prime was sent to a youth offenders’ institution for a year, Jackson and Mooney were given 8-month suspended prison sentences and 200 hours community payback, and the youth received a one-year detention and training order.

9 June:  Intruders broke into the Darul Uloom Islamic boarding school in Chislehurst and set it on fire, leading to the evacuation of 128 students and staff. Two of the students were treated for smoke inhalation.

10 June:  A slice of bacon was posted through the letterbox of Maidenhead Mosque and the words “England till I die” spray-painted on tarmac nearby. A window had been smashed in an earlier attack. Gary Nuth and Lee Hunt were convicted of racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage.

10 June:  Graffiti including the letters “EDL” was found on a bin at Oadby Islamic Centre in Leicestershire. An unnamed teenager was later convicted of racially-aggravated criminal damage.

10 June:  David Camp of Cambridge was charged with brandishing a knife and making racial comments on a train in the wake of the Woolwich killing. He received a 15-month prison sentence.

12 June:  English Defence League member Tony Perrin received a 4-month prison sentence for anti-Muslim threats posted on Facebook.

12 June:  Benjamin Flatters of Lincoln received a 14-day prison sentence for posting an anti-Muslim message on Facebook.

12 June:  Matthew Tyson of Grimsby, admitted sending an offensive or menacing message between May 22 and 25. Just days before Grimsby’s mosque was set on fire, he wrote on the EDL’s Facebook page: “Target that place for start. A British church into a mosque. Now that’s got my blood boiling.” He added: “We’re patriotic racists. The place needs burning.” He subsequently received a 12-week suspended prison sentence.

14 June: Michaela Turner of Southsea, Hampshire, was given a two-month suspended prison sentence for posting racist comments on Facebook following the death of Lee Rigby. One read: “Feeling like burning down some mosques in Portsmouth, anyone want to join me?”

14 June:  Lee Hunt and Gary Nuth were charged with racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage in connection with a graffiti attack on Maidenhead Mosque.

14 June:  A third man, Daniel Cressey, was arrested in connection with the petrol bomb attack on Grimsby Mosque and charged with arson with intent to endanger life.

18 June:  Lit petrol was poured around the door of the Masjid-E-Noor in Gloucester. Ashley Juggins and Clive Cerrone were charged with conspiracy to commit arson. Cerrone was jailed for four-and-a-half years and Juggins for three-and-a-half.

18 June:  Further convictions arising from the EDL “charity walk” in Bristol included Jason Burt, who admitted causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress and was fined £300. He swore and insulted Muslims and Allah, and chanted about the EDL. Police filmed him taking off his shoes, kneeling down on the floor and mimicking the Muslim prayer ritual, while inciting others to do the same.

20 June:  EDL supporter John Parkin was jailed for 18 months, given an indefinite CRASBO and banned from every mosque in Wales and England, having been convicted of religiously aggravated disorderly behaviour after threatening to burn down a mosque in Rhyl, north Wales.

20 June:  Steven Ballard of Grimsby pleaded guilty to sending an offensive or menacing message. On 23 May he reacted to the Woolwich murder by posting a call on the EDL Grimsby division’s facebook page calling for the town’s mosque to be burned down. He wrote: “That will tell the clowns in charge in this country that we ain’t taking this shit and it will start a nationwide action going. Grimsby will be on the map big time then.” Two days later the mosque suffered a firebomb attack. He was later given a 12-week suspended prison sentence.

22 June:  A road in Walsall was cordoned off and residents evacuated after a suspect package was found outside the Aisha Mosque and Islamic Centre. Police subsequently identified the package as a small home-made explosive device. A 75-year-old man was later arrested on suspicion of causing an explosion likely to endanger life or damage property.

24 June:  Sonoo Yaqoob, who is in fact a Christian, was beaten and stabbed in a Glasgow park by a gang of 15 youth who shouted racist abuse, and told him he was targeted as revenge for the murder of soldier Lee Rigby.

26 June:  A mosque being built in Redditch was broken into and racist graffiti including swastikas and the letters EDL, NF and KKK sprayed on the walls and windows.

30 June:  Scottish Defence League member Derek Phin of Aberdeen posted a Facebook comment calling for an arson attack on Edinburgh Central Mosque during a Unite Against Fascism meeting. He wrote: “burn the mosque down when the meeting is ongoing.” He pled guilty to posting the threatening and abusive comment and was jailed for a year.

1 July:  Scottish Defence League supporter Andrew Steele posted a comment on the SDL Facebook page stating that Edinburgh Central Mosque should be “burned to the fucking ground” and sent a screenshot to an office manager at the Scottish Parliament. He was fined £200 and told to read a book on Scottish history.

1 July:  Racist graffiti was found on a wall of Cradley Heath Central Mosque and Islamic Centre on Plant Street. The graffiti made reference to the English Defence League.

6 July:  EDL supporter Mark Tonner of Blackpool pleaded guilty to sending an offensive message on the day of Lee Rigby’s murder. In a Facebook comment to a fellow member of the EDL he wrote: “Get the boys together we need to paint the town red with Muslim blood.”

12 July:  On the day of Lee Rigby’s funeral British Movement member Richard Harris attacked Zahoor Hussain in a pub in Blackwood because he was talking to a white woman colleague. Harris shouted at the woman “What are you doing drinking with terrorists?” and told Mr Husain “You are all animals. This is not your country” before hitting him over the head with a bottle, almost severing his ear. Harris was convicted of racially aggravated wounding and sentenced to five years in prison.

12 July:  A nail bomb exploded outside the Kanz-ul-Iman Central Jamia Mosque in Tipton. Police stated that it was being treated as a terrorist attack.

18 July:  Wolverhampton Central Mosque was evacuated while a police bomb disposal team searched the building. Bomb blast debris was found nearby.

18 July:  Terence Baker of Grimsby admitted sending an offensive or menacing message on May 24 in response to Lee Rigby’s murder and was jailed for 8 weeks. His Facebook comments, which included a call to burn down Grimsby’s mosque, stirred up “appalling, racist and anti-religious” hatred.

23 July:  Pavlo Lapshyn from Ukraine was charged with involvement in the bomb attacks on mosques in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton, as well as the terrorist murder of Mohammed Saleem in April. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for murder, as well as 12 years for offences under the Explosives Substances Act and 12 years for offences under the Terrorism Act.

July:  James Carpenter, Benjamin Gordon and Daniel White launched an unprovoked attack on Sarfaraz Khan in Ashford, shouting “You kill our soldiers” and “Lee Rigby”. Having pleaded guilty to racially aggravated assault, Carpenter and Gordon were jailed for 10 months each and White for 8 months.

8 January 2014:  Nigel Flanaghan of Harlow phoned Essex Police and told them he had bullets and was “going to put a bomb in a mosque”. During the call he referred to the killing of Lee Rigby and said: “I want to see Muslims hanging in the street and kick the **** out of them”. He pleaded guilty to communicating false information with intent to cause a false belief that a bomb was present and was jailed for 12 months.