Thursday, May 23, 2013

Knife attack fuels hate crimes against Muslims in Britain

Thu May 23, 2013 8:27AM GMT

Britain is witnessing an increase in hate crimes against Muslims following an attack in London, in which a soldier was reportedly beheaded by two assailants.

Two men have been arrested after separate attacks on mosques following the terrorist incident in Woolwich, southeast London, police and local media reported.

According to police a 43-year-old man is in custody on suspicion of attempted arson after walking into a mosque with a knife in Braintree, Essex.

"Local mosque in Braintree attacked by man with knives and incendiary device. Man arrested. No one injured", tweeted local MP Brooks Newmark.

A spokesman for Essex Police confirmed a 43-year-old from Braintree had been arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and attempted arson after the incident in Silks Way at 7.15pm on Wednesday.

The spokesman added that police were investigating the "full circumstances" and said "it would not be appropriate to speculate at this time".

Meanwhile, police in Kent were called to reports of criminal damage at a mosque in Canterbury Street, Gillingham, at 8.40pm local time.

A spokesman said a man is in custody on suspicion of racially-aggravated criminal damage. The force has stepped up the police presence after a man was butchered in broad daylight on the streets of London.

Supporters of the extremist English Defence League (EDL) gathered at Woolwich Arsenal train station near the scene and threw bottles at police.

EDL leader Tommy Robinson, who was among a group of around 250 men, said: "They're chopping our soldiers' heads off. This is Islam. That's what we've seen today."

The secretary of the mosque in Braintree, Sikander Saleemy, told Channel 4 News that he felt like it was a "revenge attack".

"The police said it's too early to try and link it to what happened in Woolwich, but those of us who were here feel that it was some sort of revenge attack. It was clear from the man's behaviour”, said Saleemy.

"We absolutely condemn what happened in Woolwich, but it had nothing to do with us. It was an appalling act of terror - but it wasn't "Islamic" in any way. I wish it wasn't described like that, because sadly people will now start to blame Muslims", he added.

Britain’s Muslim Council also condemned the soldier's killing, calling it a barbaric act which has no basis in Islam.

According to a security source, the delay in the armed police response was "particularly surprising" because there is a heavily armed police presence at Woolwich Crown Court, which is just two and a half miles away. 

No comments:

Post a Comment