Muslims in Manchester say they are reeling from a ‘new kind of hatred’ in the wake of the Arena attack


Cii Radio|Ayesha Ismail| 22 June 2017| 27 Ramadaan 1438

Muslims in Manchester have told the MEN they are reeling from a ‘new kind of hatred’ on an unprecedented scale in the wake of the city’s terrorist attack.

Incidents of Islamophobia rocketed in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing last month.

One cleric said the community is experiencing a level of hostility it has never seen before.

Mosque leaders have ramped up security, while Didsbury Mosque – where Salman Abedi is known to have worshipped – hired a security guard to offer reassurance to worshippers attending prayers.

Tensions escalated further during a rally in the city centre earlier this month.

Eight people were arrested during the United Against Hate protest, led by former-English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson.

Rusholme Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar described the hatred displayed towards Muslims during the event as ‘vile and evil’.

“Last week’s demonstration shocked a lot of people,” he said. “I was there and the rhetoric I heard I have never heard here in Manchester before and I have lived through the National Front.

“It was so vile and evil. I’ve never heard that in my life and I certainly never thought I would hear that on British streets.

“For example I heard somebody say: ‘the only good Muslim is a dead Muslim’.

“A lot of Muslims are feeling the same way. We can’t have this constant cycle of hate.”

Just five days after Dad-of-two Sheraz Khan suffered horrendous cuts to his arm after two thugs tried to smash a glass bottle over his head.

The dad of two, 30, was driving through Crumpsall when two men shouted that he had a flat tyre.

But when he pulled over one of the men said: “only joking, you’re a f***in terrorist bomber, you” before smashing the glass onto his arm.

“It was a trap. I thought they were trying to help me. They seemed genuine.

“I collapsed on the floor and a little boy came and gave me some water. I managed to drive myself to hospital.

“My hand was really bad, bleeding everywhere, and if I hadn’t put my arm up they would have got my face.”

Sheraz, who personally knew one of the people killed in the Arena bombing atrocity, said he was horrified at being branded a ‘terrorist’.

“I feel traumatised,” he said. “I’m nothing like that. You can’t just judge every Muslim to be a terrorist.”

Despite his shocking ordeal, Sheraz decided not to report the incident to police as he believed ‘nothing would come of it’.

He said: “I feel like there’s no point. There are no cameras on that street and I didn’t know the men.”

Coun Akbar told the M.E.N that he has even been told of Islamaphobic hatred directed towards Sikhs and Hindus.

Surgeon Naveed Yasin, who spent 48 hours saving the lives of people caught up in the attack, was also branded a terrorist in the wake of the atrocity.

Dobir Miah, chief officer for the Rochdale Council of Mosques, said security at many local mosques has been stepped up since the Manchester Arena terror attack.

He says more volunteer stewards have been enlisted to ‘keep a close eye’ on the congregations.

“Most faith organisations are run on a shoestring budget so they don’t need any unnecessary hassles and costs,” he said.

“Mosques are open public spaces anyone can go in.”

Mr Miah said many Muslims were left ‘concerned and alarmed’ following the attack at a Finsbury Park mosque in London last week.

He added: “That shows we are experiencing a new kind of hatred.”

Source – Manchester evening

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