Islamophobic posters reported across Essex town

28th Jun 2019

Harun Nasrullah

Islamophobic posters depicting a crusader chasing a woman in niqab have appeared in a town in Essex and are being treated as a hate crime, police confirmed last month.

The posters with ‘Islamists not welcome’ and ‘stay back or we will kick you back’ written on them were put up in numerous streets in Rayleigh. The posters have been reported in Clarence Road, Grove Road, Eastwood Road, as well as Rayleigh High Street.

They included a symbol used by the pan-European white supremacist ‘Generation Identity’, alongside a silhouette image of a crusader on a horse chasing an armed woman in niqab.

Generation Identity calls itself a “patriotic youth movement” that believes in “homeland, freedom and tradition.” It promotes the white genocide conspiracy theory that inspired the Christchurch mosque attacker and calls for a ‘reconquista’ of Europe.

The phrase invokes the reconquest of Spain by the Catholic monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, following centuries of rule by Muslims. In their quest to “stop the Islamisation of Europe” and “reverse the Great Replacement”, activists crowdfunded and have a boat to stop refugee rescues in the Mediterranean and patrolled European borders

A spokesman for Essex Police confirmed to The Muslim News they are treating the incident as a hate crime, “We are aware of stickers placed in various locations around Rayleigh displaying messages including‘Islamists not welcome.’ We are keen to speak to those responsible for them to discuss their intent. We are treating this as a hate incident.”

A spokesman for Rochford Council said: “We will be working with the local policing team and community safety partners in relation to this matter.” Shoppers and families were outraged at the abuse too.

One, who contacted the Echo about the stickers, said: “It is absolutely vile. I did not expect to encounter stickers and branding like this these days, especially not in a place like Rayleigh.

“I thought we lived in a tolerant society but clearly not. I know Brexit has caused some tension, but I did not think we had people like that, with those thoughts, in this area.”

Ahmad Khwaja, Chair of the Southend Ethnic Minority Forum, told the Evening Standard: “It is both worrying and disappointing that anti-Islamic posters have been appearing. This Islamophobia is fuelled by ignorance, and it is likely that the people posting them have had little or no contact with any Muslim people in their own lives.

“Sadly anti-Muslim bias is prevalent and has become normalised in the media and politics today. It is therefore yet to be taken as seriously as other hate crimes such as those of antisemitism or homophobia.”

Generation Identity describes itself as a “patriotic youth movement” that believes in “homeland, freedom and tradition.”

It advocates the “white genocide” conspiracy theory that inspired the Christchurch mosque killer, Brenton Tarrant. The posters found in Rayleigh are sold via a merchandise company linked to the group which was managed by Tore Rasmussen, a Norwegian former neo-Nazi who was investigated over the stabbing of an African migrant in Stavanger in 2001.

He is one of three Generation Identity members that have been blocked from entering Britain. Their presence was ruled “not conducive to the public good”, but has since left the group.

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