Muslim call for government action over mosque attacks

  • Published
Road closures at Tipton mosque
Image caption,
Police cordoned off area around a mosque in Tipton following an explosion

A leading Islamic organisation has called for a "serious national response" from the government to attacks against Muslims and mosques.

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said there had been an "unprecedented escalation of violence" since Fusilier Lee Rigby's killing in May.

The organisation's leader, Farooq Murad, said people were living in fear.

A Home Office minister is expected to visit the West Midlands on Tuesday after mosque attacks in the region.

West Midlands Police have until Saturday to question a 25-year-old Ukrainian man who was arrested on suspicion of being involved in incidents in Walsall, Wolverhampton and Tipton.

Pavlo Lapshyn has been separately charged with the murder in April of Birmingham pensioner Mohammed Saleem, a death that occurred before the killing of Fusilier Rigby in Woolwich, south-east London.

The MCB said an increase in attacks nationwide since the death of Fusilier Rigby must be met by "an urgent, coordinated national response by politicians, police and domestic security services."

Mr Murad, the MCB's secretary general, said: "Following the events in Woolwich there has been a significant increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes across the UK.

"The community has patiently borne the brunt of these attacks despite condemning, in the strongest possible terms, the tragic murder of Drummer Lee Rigby. Despite this spike in incidents, there has yet to be a coordinated national effort to ensure that these sorts of attacks never happen again.

"It cannot be right that a minority community is allowed to be targeted in this manner."

Mr Murad said the suspected bomb attacks on mosques marked "the crossing of a red line".

"Had these bombs exploded, people would have been killed," he said. "There is an urgent need for the government and police to respond with a coordinated national strategy so as to prevent further attacks.

"For many Muslim communities across this country, there is a palpable sense of fear. While the local police are doing all they could to investigate these incidents, the national response has been far from satisfactory."

Earlier, Home Secretary Theresa May said she was "shocked and sickened" by the incidents in the West Midlands.

"The West Midlands Police have my full support in their on-going investigation. I have spoken with Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale and I have asked that I am kept up-to-date with the latest developments.

"The Security Minister James Brokenshire will also be visiting Birmingham on Tuesday to meet those who have been directly affected.

"What happened in the West Midlands is a reminder that terrorism affects people of all backgrounds. Just as we saw people coming together to denounce Woolwich, so we must come together and stand firm against extremism whatever form it takes," Mrs May said.