Messages and publications in record proportions.. How do British Muslims face hate crimes?

London- Finsbury Park Mosque in the British capital, London, stands out as the mosque that has been most attacked on a racist background, especially after witnessing an incident that ran over a number of worshipers in 2019.

The director of the mosque, Muhammad Kuzbar, says that the quarantine period witnessed a rise in racist messages received by the mosque “by phone and e-mail, as well as through leaflets that are thrown inside the mosque.”

Kuzbar stressed, in his statement to Al-Jazeera Net, that “the extreme right feeds hatred against Muslims, and some politicians are taking advantage of events such as the assassination of a parliamentarian by a young man of Muslim origin, to promote dangerous messages against Muslims.”

After an unprecedented rise against them, a 6-point plan for Britain’s Muslims to confront hate crimes

The director of the mosque does not hide his frustration with the British police’s interaction with these events. He says: “We report every incident, but in the end the result is not satisfactory and the investigations are closed.”

During his meetings with British security officials, Kuzbar calls for the provision of special security in mosques, “as is the case for churches, especially during Friday prayers, where mosques are known to be crowded and may be vulnerable to any attack.”

Worshipers in a mosque in Britain (Al-Jazeera)

the bell of danger

In recent days, the Muslim Council of Britain has sounded the alarm about the security of mosques, and the need to provide more protection equipment for Muslim places of worship, after the increase in racist attacks on them.

The warning of the Muslim Council of Britain (the largest umbrella of Muslim societies in the United Kingdom), comes in the context of fears of violence against Muslims, after the murder of Parliamentarian David Amis stabbed by a young British young man of Somali origin.

The council released a 6-step guide to enhance the security of mosques and protect them from any attacks fueled by “Islamophobia” (prejudice, hatred and fear of Islam or Muslims).

The Council stressed that this evidence has become an urgent necessity, after worrying indications about the increase in hate crimes against Muslims, and Muslim women in particular.

worrying numbers

And the British Home Office figures showed an increase in hate crimes, reaching 124,091 crimes between March 2020 and the same month of 2021, the highest number ever recorded.

The Ministry of Interior justifies this rise by developing its system to monitor these crimes, and encouraging people to report if they are subjected to any racist attack.

In the aspect related to crimes motivated by religious hatred, Muslims are at the forefront of racist attacks.

According to British security statistics, more than 45% of religious hate crimes were victims of Muslims, especially Muslim women because they wore the hijab.

An initiative in Britain's mosques to introduce the tolerance of IslamFears of rising attacks on mosques and Islamic centers in Britain (Al-Jazeera)

Securing the mosques

The guide announced by the Muslim Council of Britain on securing mosques consists of 6 steps, “that will make Islamic institutions and mosques safer in the face of the possibility of hate attacks.”

The guide stipulates the necessity of appointing a security team for the mosque, training people to secure mosques’ educational centers, and appointing a mosque spokesman to speak to the media in the event of any attack.

The guide recommends paying special attention to the times when mosques are popular, such as during Friday prayers or during the month of Ramadan and Tarawih prayers, in addition to the need to reduce the entrances and exits of mosques during normal times to control everyone who enters and exits from them and to them.

The Council stresses the existence of a monitoring system for all gates and corners, ensuring that the required recordings are provided in the event of any accident, and seeking advice from specialized companies to find out if the mosque building has the technologies required for security.

The Muslim Council of Britain does not underestimate any threat, even if it is by phone or e-mail, so it stresses the need to report any racist message to the police, whether it came by phone, letters or written publications.

The council called on worshipers to avoid going to mosques alone in the early morning hours or at night, and to avoid dark roads and where pedestrians and cars are less.

worry not fear

Majid Yassin, director of the Islamic Center in Bournemouth, southern Britain, describes the atmosphere in Britain’s mosques as “relatively safe”.

Yassin presented his experience with the attack on the center he supervises by saying, “The last days are not without some incidents,” recalling an attempt to smash the window of the mosque that his center supervises, a few days ago.

In a move that shows the concern of the Ministry of Interior, the official in charge of the Islamic Center confirmed to Al-Jazeera Net that he had held a meeting with a number of security officials to discuss securing the Islamic Center, “and they assured (him) that they would set up an iron gate in front of the mosque in addition to iron barriers to avoid any run-over operations.” .

Yassin noted, through his meetings with Interior Ministry officials, that there is a state of concern among the British security forces about the security of mosques, “therefore, they offer to cover the costs of securing the mosque gates to ensure that no major damage will occur in the event of any attack.”

For its part, the Islamic Center is engaged in a public relations campaign to communicate with “the various British bodies with a moderate discourse emphasizing respect for laws, and this discourse finds its impact at the highest levels of the state,” says Yassin.

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