Elham Asaad Buaras
West Midlands Police have said they are linking two Islamophobic vandal attacks in south Birmingham. A series of Muslim-owned shops and businesses are reported to have been attacked by men armed with guns and hammers.
Islam must die graffiti daubed on University of Birmingham walls
A number of Swastikas and ‘Islam must die’ graffiti were daubed on walls at the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston and a mosque in Selly Oak overnight between January 16 and January 17. Police said the graffiti has since been removed from the old university gym, in Edgbaston Park Road and the Jahalabad mosque, in Dartmouth Road.
Students have raised their concerns that religions and minority groups, particularly Islam and Judaism, are being targeted. Jewish students have expressed concern over the graffiti, with many seeing it as anti-Semitic as well as Islamophobic.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked at this Islamophobic campaign, which condemns all Muslims without justification. This is a prime example of racist propaganda, designed to stir up hatred and only serves to alienate Muslim students from the rest,” said a spokesman for the University’s Islamic Society.
The University of Birmingham has removed the graffiti.
A spokesman for the University told The Muslim News, “The University of Birmingham is a community of 150 nations situated in a vibrant multi-cultural city. While we respect the right of all individuals to exercise freedom of speech within the law, we will actively challenge discrimination of any kind and strive to strike a balance that protects these freedoms and ensures vigilance against any forms of potential extremism or discriminatory behaviour.”
In a statement to The Muslim News West Midlands Police Sergeant for Edgbaston, Pete Sandhu, said: “Mindless hate of this kind has no place in 21st century Birmingham and work is underway to find the person responsible. Evidential photographs have been taken and CCTV which may have captured the vandal is currently being reviewed.”
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said it is monitoring unfolding developments in Birmingham where a series of Muslim-owned shops and businesses are reported to have been attacked by men armed with guns and hammers.
“Whilst detectives are not yet able to be certain of a link between the attacks, we hope that these remain isolated incidents and do not escalate to the levels seen in France, which saw a spike in anti-Muslim attacks across the country following the recent brutal murder of journalists at the French publication, Charlie Hebdo.”
In a statement to The Muslim News MCB called for “calm as the police authorities conduct their investigations, and encourage mosques and British Muslims to be vigilant, report any attacks to the police and take the necessary steps to protect your institutions. In the meantime it is important for all communities to come together in solidarity, support and vigilance.”