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Mon, 28 September 2020

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Government condemns ‘abhorrent’ letters calling for ‘punish a Muslim day’

Government condemns ‘abhorrent’ letters calling for ‘punish a Muslim day’
2 min read

The Government has condemned barbaric letters which encourage people to “butcher” Muslims as “abhorrent” as it urged recipients to hand them over to police.

The intervention comes amid reports that letters encouraging violence against Muslim people have been sent to a number of homes in recent days .

The aggressive propaganda calls on recipients to launch savage attacks in exchange for “rewards” on 3 April.

Acts listed that could be exchanged for “points” ranged from verbal abuse tirades to “bombing a mosque” and “nuking Mecca”.

In the Commons, Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said while a police investigation remained active, ministers take Islamophobia “extremely seriously” and sent a “strong message of support to Muslim people across the UK”.

“We are committed to their safety and their security and if anyone has received this letter or a similar communication, please, please contact the police were they will be treated with the utmost seriousness and action will be taken,” she told MPs.

She added that Government would be refreshing its hate crime action plan this year.

Shadow Policing Minister Lou Haigh responded, saying the letters were “an incitement to violence and it cannot go unpunished”.

She said: "There is overwhelming evidence that the threat from the extreme right is growing increasingly violent and we have to be clear that by threatening members of our diverse communities they are also a threat to our national security through their anti-democratic, dehumanising and murderous beliefs.”

Tory backbencher Anna Soubry said the letters amounted to a “blatant incitement to terrorism” and called for a legal definition of Islamophobia.

Labour MP Yasmin Qureshi, who tabled the urgent question which led to today's debate, said much of the blame in rising anti-Muslim sentiment more generally “appears to have come from part of the print, broadcast and social media”.

The debate came shortly after police were called to parliament after a suspicious package was sent to a Labour Muslim MP.

The officers were investigating a package which was reported to be leaking a liquid at the offices of Mohammed Yasin in the Norman Shaw building.

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