Nye undersøkelser viser at voldelige angrep på muslimer har økt dramatisk etter terrorangrepet på flyplassen i Glasgow og bilbombene i London. Angrepene omfatter alt fra negative tilrop, verbale trusler og krenkende grafitti til mer alvorlige tilfeller som stenkasting og fysiske overfall. Blant de mest graverende angrepene er forsøk på å sprenge en muslimsk butikk og en moskè, samt et knivoverfall som kritisk skadet en imam i moskèen i Regent Park.
Politikere og muslimske ledere i Skottland sier angrepene kommer som en følge av at små grupper feilaktig anser muslimer som potensielle terrorister.
New figures reveal a surge in cases of violent attacks, abuse and harassment in the four weeks after the car bombing, with the worst cases including attempts to blow up an Asian shop and a mosque.
The biggest increase has been recorded in the Strathclyde region, where there were more than 250 incidents, of which more than 10% were directly linked to the airport attack on June 30.
Politicians and Muslim leaders in Scotland said the attacks showed that a minority of people were targeting Asians because they wrongly believed they are potential terrorists.
Other members of the Asian community claim that the real number of attacks is much higher, with many incidents going unreported to the police.
According to the latest statistics, the number of racially motivated attacks dealt with by Strathclyde Police rose from 201 in June to 258 in July. Of these, 31 had definite links to the airport bombing.
Et politidistrikt i Skottland opplyser at det har vært gjennomsnittlig 9 daglige tilfeller av angrep på muslimer i juli, som utgjør en økning på 29 fra 116 hendelser måneden før. Et annet politidistrikt registrerte 40 tilfeller i løpet av juli, hvorav et halvt dusin ble oppgitt å være direkte koblet til angrepet på flyplassen i Glasgow.
Last night, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said racism in any form would not be tolerated. He told Scotland on Sunday: «The attack at Glasgow Airport was perpetrated by individuals and not by communities.
The Muslim community in Scotland has expressed its outrage at what was attempted in [the attack on] Glasgow.»
In the worst incident, an apparent copycat attack, a newsagents in the Riddrie area of Glasgow’s East End was targeted three days after the airport incident.
A stolen vehicle was driven repeatedly into the steel shutters in front of Smithycroft Newsagents. When the driver failed to break through, eyewitnesses told police, he attempted to set fire to the vehicle with matches, and eventually threw a gas canister into the wreckage, which burst into flames, causing a massive blast which almost gutted the shop.
The shop’s owner, Ashfaq Ahmed, was not on the premises at the time. He is now trying to rebuild his business and spoke of his shock at the attack. Born in Pakistan, but brought up in and around Glasgow, 40-year-old Ahmed considers himself to be «100% Scottish». He said: «This is happening all over the UK. It is not just Scotland.»
A Strathclyde Police source said they were investigating links between the shop incident and the airport attack.
Mohammed Tariq, who has run the Bathgate Mosque and the Sarajia Islamic Studies Centre in West Lothian for more than 20 years, is convinced the entire Asian community is being unfairly blamed for the actions of a few unconnected radicals. He said: «People have seen terrorism at Glasgow Airport and now they are looking at us and thinking we are terrorists.»
Tariq has had his own brush with racist thugs in the aftermath of the terror attack, when a «petrol bomb-like» device was thrown towards the study centre in Bathgate. The makeshift device landed in an estate agent’s shop next door, but failed to detonate.
Sohaib Saeed, of the Islamic Centre of Edinburgh Trust, indicated that the real number of attacks could be considerably higher than the official figures. He said: «It may be for fear, but it may well be that they consider what they have gone through too insignificant to involve the police.»
En talsmann for den skotske politistyrken sier at de er klar over den eksplosive økningen i rasemotivert kriminalitet, og lover at samtlige anmeldte tilfeller vil bli grundig etterforsket.
I London ble en 58 år gammel imam som arbeider I Regent`s parks moskè stukket ned og alvorlig skadet fredag. 3 august ble moskèen i Bradford antent, og brannen etterforskes av politiet som mistenkelig. The Muslim Concil of Britain (MCB) klandrer britiske medier for å fremme islamofobi og hat mot muslimer:
The MCB claim there have been a series of recent Islamophobic crimes in Britain, which they believe have been fuelled by the media.
An MCB spokesman said: «There is clearly a growing anti-Muslim climate in this country and it has some very worrying implications for all of us.
«It is deeply regrettable that sections of our media have been playing a key role in fermenting much of this Islamophobic prejudice and hatred against British Muslims.»
I et forsøk på å stanse utviklingen har myndighetene opprettet forum mot islamofobi og ekstremisme i enkelte lokalsamfunn:
Responsibility for race and community relations was transferred from the Home Office to Ruth Kelly’s Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in May.
Forums aimed at tackling Islamophobia and extremism have been established in Leicester, Redbridge and Dudley, with more planned around the country.
A spokeswoman for the DCLG said: «Any crime motivated by a prejudice against a person’s race or religion is deplorable and we are committed to doing all we can to support the police in this matter.»