Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham mosque murder victim's family 'racially abused'

Mohammed Saleem with his wife Said Begum Image copyright PA
Image caption Mohammed Saleem's daughter says her mother (pictured) and nieces have been the recent victims of racist abuse

Relatives of a Muslim man murdered by a racist claim they have been recent victims of race hate abuse.

Mohammed Saleem, 82, was stabbed on his way home from a Birmingham mosque in 2013. Ukrainian Pavlo Lapshyn admitted killing him because he was not white.

The victim's daughter, Maz Saleem, said she and her mother were both recently racially abused and her nieces, aged 11 and 13, were insulted and spat at.

Ms Saleem said she had witnessed her mother being racially abused on a bus.

Image caption Maz Saleem says people should stand up to racism and challenge bigoted views

"My mum wears the hijab and abaya (long coat) and [the passenger] started saying that we should 'go back to our own country' and, 'look at what she's wearing'."

Ms Saleem said she was targeted by a woman on the London Underground as she tried to help a Muslim woman in Arabic dress, who was being abused by a passenger.

"I felt extremely disappointed that someone who doesn't know the person is judging them for the way they look, just because they look Muslim," she said.

"We have to stand up to racism spread on our streets and challenge anyone with bigoted views."

The abuse her nieces received led to the family contacting local police.

"A lorry driver hurled racist, Islamophobic abuse at them because they were wearing hijabs.

"I don't like using the word, but he called them [the racist word] 'Paki' and then spat at them."

The incident was reported to Greater Manchester Police, but she said no further action was taken because they could not trace the number plate of the vehicle.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Pavlo Lapshyn is serving a life sentence for murder and for planting several bombs near mosques in the West Midlands

Ms Saleem said her family was still coming to terms with what happened to her father who was killed "simply because he was brown and dressed like a Muslim".

"The devastation of the death of our father is still overwhelming. Even today, it's hard for us to comprehend how someone could have such hatred for an 82-year-old man," she said.

Ukrainian student Lapshyn was sentenced to a minimum of 40 years for murder and terrorism related offences.

To hear more on this story listen to BBC Asian Network Reports at 13:00 and 17:00 BST and BBC Radio WM.

Related Topics

More on this story