Recently we have seen the circulation of the ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ letters. The letters encourage people to carry out various acts of violence against Muslims. People who may be incited to criminal acts by the letters- or the publicity they have generated - will not necessarily limit themselves to the proposed day and incidents apparently related to the letters have been reported in Scotland.
The letters were one of the issues discussed amongst community representatives and representatives of Police Scotland at the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Tackling Islamophobia on Tuesday 27 March. Anas Sarwar MSP, Chair of the Cross-Party Group, issued the following statement:
“We recognise the fear and alarm that the ‘Punish a Muslim’ campaign is causing, which has no place in society. An attack on one person living in Scotland, regardless of faith, is an attack on us all.
“Our advice to people concerned by this campaign is to go about your daily life, but remain vigilant, and we urge everyone to look out for their friends, family and neighbours.
“Any suspicious or concerning activity should be reported to the police, and we have received assurances from Police Scotland there will be extra vigilance around faith buildings and where there are large gatherings.
“Scotland must be united as one community of equals, and we have a duty to look out for one another. Only by working together can we tackle Islamophobia and all forms of racism and prejudice.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) says:
"The letters encourage people to carry out various acts of violence against Muslims. The purpose of the letters is to create fear amongst the Muslim community. While IHRC believes that we should not allow these racist letters to stop us from going about our normal business, we nonetheless urge people to be cautious over the next few days, in case there are individuals who are incited by these letter to attack Muslims. As a result, IHRC reissues its advice for safety and security of Muslims, those perceived to be Muslim and people of colour."
IHRC has re-issued its security advice in the light of the letters. The updated advice includes important recommendations on what to do if you receive a letter (your actions could help police respond appropriately to the letters) and useful safety tips for community organisations and Muslim women. Read it here.
Standing Up to Hate
Tuesday 3 April 2018. Love a Muslim Day - Edinburgh: an initiative from the Muslim Women's Association of Edinburgh. "A day to combat Islamophobia and racism by spreading positive messages. Please post pics and messages on April 3rd on your social media account." More information
Tuesday 3 April 2018. Stand Up to Islamophobia Day - Edinburgh. 5.30-6.30pm, The Mound, Edinburgh. Organised by Stand Up to Racism Scotland. "The outrageous 'Punish a Muslim Day' letter recently sent to homes across the country is yet another example of anti-Muslim hate crime which has doubled over the last year. We urge all anti-racists to stand together on this day to condemn utterly this act of terrorism against part of our community." More information.
Tuesday 3 April 2018. Day of Solidarity Against Islamophobia. Various events around the UK organised by Stand Up to Racism. More information.