Iraqi family ‘troubled’ by Islamophobic O2 mail

8th Jun 2018
Iraqi family ‘troubled’ by  Islamophobic O2 mail

O2 mailed ‘Mr Getout OfEngland’ and ‘Mr Isis Terroriste’ to a Muslim family in Wembley, London (Photo: courtesy of the family)

Ahmed J Versi

One of the UK’s largest mobile network operator has apologised after SIM cards addressed to ‘Mr Getout OfEngland’ and ‘Mr Isis Terroriste’ were mailed to an Iraqi Muslim family.

Dismissing the O2 letters as junk mail after receiving them in August last year, the family, who wish to remain anonymous, only noticed the offensive mail when they inspected them three weeks ago.

“We put aside the letters without looking at them as we thought they were junk mail. When we looked at them recently, we were shocked,” a family member told The Muslim News.

“When we read the letters we thought these kind of remarks are not uncommon and we put them aside. But later when we raised these with other family members, we realised that such kind of messages should not be acceptable. It was very troubling and upsetting.”

“We don’t have any problems with our neighbours or anyone else,” he said.

The British-Iraqi family, who live in Wembley, north London, received two separate letters addressed to them with racist and Islamophobic messages last August.

“Only after raising the issue of the letters with a friend and with other family members, we came to the conclusion that this cannot be acceptable,” the family member said.

The family found it “very hard” to believe O2 has no proper safeguard in place to prevent the “very Islamophobic” incident.

What is also of concern is that no household member has an account or any contact with O2.

“What is more concerning is a big company like O2 has no safeguards on and my details are so easily available.”

What the family was concerned about was the perpetrators “must have known intimate knowledge of where I live” which they must have obtained from O2 online. O2 said the order was manually placed online by a member of the public.

O2 told them it was an automated system but there is an aspect of human interactions. “I was surprised that these letters were not intercepted as they went through the system.”

The family’s lawyer, Sura Jawad told The Muslim News that the letters came as “a complete shock to the family who has no idea who would have wanted to direct such hateful language towards them.”

Jawad argues that despite O2 insisting they contract a third party to distribute their free SIMs and that the SIMs are mailed when ordered online, “it is still unclear to us how it was possible for these to be sent out to the family and how they were specifically targeted.”

Jawad is concerned that the letters come at a time when “Islamophobia and racism are rife, particularly in a post-Brexit climate. They are deeply worrying given the rise in hate crimes according to official statistics and show that efforts need to be taken to tackle racist and Islamophobic attitudes.”

The family member said they will be taking the matter further.

In a statement to The Muslim News, an O2 spokesperson said: “We have a rigorous data cleansing process in place to prevent any members of the public sending our free products to addresses with obscenities or offensive names and so this is a rare occurrence.

“We are shocked by the letters that have been received and apologise to the family involved.”

O2 vowed to “work closely with the police” should the family decide to report the case.

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