Hate mail calling for April 3 Muslim punishment day stirs fear across UK
Cabinet minister Sajid Javid is fifth MP to receive "Punish a Muslim" letter
Senior Conservative cabinet minister Sajid Javid is the fifth MP to receive anti-Muslim mail calling for an April 3 “punish a Muslim” day, a week-long hate campaign targeting Westminster and at least five UK cities.
The secretary of state for housing, communities and local government posted a copy of the letter to his Twitter account with the hashtag “#fan mail”. While he made light of the post, the letter encourages people to assault Muslims, offering "points" for different activities including attacking Muslims with acid and murder. Javid didn’t respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Four Muslim MPs also received the letter this week with a package containing a sticky, non-hazardous substance. The packages were sent to Labour MPs Rupa Huq, Rushanara Ali, Mohammad Yasin, and Afzal Khan at the Westminster building housing their offices.
“It is to put the frighteners on us but we won’t be cowed. I’m sure I won’t be the last and I’m sure this is part of a pattern of targeting Muslim MPs. Among my colleagues, people have shown support but they are outraged,” MP Rupaq Huq told The Guardian.
While police declined to release figures, the UK anti-Muslim hate monitoring service Tell MAMA says 15 people have reported the hate letters to the group in addition to the five MPs. The communication has spread fear in communities from London to Bradford, Leicester, Cardiff and Sheffield.
“There’s no denying that these revolting letters have caused alarm amongst many in the Muslim community,” Qari Asim, senior Imam at Leeds Makkah Mosque, said.
"They have hurt you, they have made your loved ones suffer…They have caused you pain and heartache. What are you going to do about it?" the letters read.
They also list a point system of rewards for “participating” in acts on April 3 that range from 25 points for pulling off a woman's head scarf, to 500 points for murdering a Muslim and 1,000 for bombing a mosque.
Theresa May called the hate mail “abhorrent” in the House of Commons this week.
“We take religious hatred extremely seriously and my officers will be carrying out a full and thorough investigation in response to these reports,” Counter Terrorism Policing North East detective chief superintendent, Martin Snowden, said.
''These letters seek to cause fear and offence among our Muslim communities. They also seek to divide us. Yet in spite of this our communities have shown strength in their response to such hatred and in their support for each other.'