Destruction of over 10 Muslim graves in Nottingham High Wood Cemetery in Low Wood Road, Bulwell, over the weekend of June 27 and June 28. (Photo: M Kabir/Karimia Institute)
Nadine Osman and Ahmed J Versi
Nottingham City Council confirmed it was treating vandalism in the city’s High Wood Cemetery as an Islamophobic incident.
Name plaques were smashed at about 10 plots in the cemetery in Low Wood Road, Bulwell, over the weekend of June 27 and June 28.
The council’s Deputy Leader, Graham Chapman, said: “We totally condemn what has taken place at High Wood Cemetery. This irresponsible act of hatred achieves absolutely nothing. We will be increasing security at the cemetery and, although we cannot guarantee solving this hate crime, the council will be working with the police to do our utmost to track down the perpetrators.”
Chief Imamat Karimia Institute, Musharraf Hussain, said the community was “very disappointed” and the attacks were “very concerning”. He told The Muslim News that it was “very upsetting to the families whose dear ones’ graves were desecrated.”
Imam Hussain called those who had committed the crime as “petty criminals.” He believes the attack on the graves was “a reaction to the killings of Britons in Tunisia.” He said this was the first time that such attacks have taken place in Nottingham.
Amina Abdullah said seeing her uncle’s gravestone vandalised was, “very upsetting. It doesn’t matter what faith you belong to, to target graves is very heartless but this mindless act will not divide the community.”
Wasim Chaudry, whose mother-in-law’s grave was desecrated just three weeks after her death, said he felt “absolute disbelief” at the damage.
The 41-year-old digital communications officer, from Basford, Nottingham, said: “They broke off the name plate but we got off lightly compared to some of the other graves.
“Some of the others had been trampled on. I just don’t know what goes through people’s minds. It’s unbelievable.”
Nottinghamshire Police are increasing patrols at the cemetery.
The Muslim community met with the police and city council to discuss the vandalism of the Muslim graves. The city council has promised to increase CCTVs to monitor the cemetery and the police promised to increase patrols in the area.
Chief Superintendent Mark Holland said: “Nottinghamshire Police has been liaising closely with the Muslim community in Nottinghamshire since the events in Tunisia and we have been in close contact following the reports of these events.
“I am sure everyone in Nottinghamshire will be united in their condemnation of these actions and we would urge anyone who knows anything about this incident to contact police immediately.”