Anti-racists warn wave of terror is being carried out against ethnic minorities in east London
MUSLIMS in east London are fearful of leaving their homes following an alarming rise in the number of acid attacks targeting Asians.
Police have been accused of playing down the nature and number of assaults as residents warn that “Muslim communities are being terrorised.”
A vigil was held in Stratford yesterday evening organised by Newham Stand Up to Racism calling on the government and the police to prioritise their response to the rising number of Islamophobic attacks.
Attacks in London now occur more than daily on average and incidents have been reported in Upton Park, Forest Gate and Mile End in the past few days.
An emergency meeting attended by Tower Hamlets Mayor John Bigg was held on Sunday. He was told: “These attacks are happening on our doorsteps. Our women, our men, our youngsters are feeling unsafe. They are scared to come out of their homes.”
And anti-racist campaigner Maz Saleem, whose father was killed by a nazi sympathiser in a racially motivated murder in 2013, warned that the assaults were acts of terror.
The London Borough of Newham has been branded Britain’s acid attack capital: there have been 415 assaults using corrosive material since 2010 compared with 157 in neighbouring Barking over the same period. But there has been a sharp rise in acid attacks across the capital: 431 assaults last year, up from 261 in 2015.
The rise exceeds national trends, with acid attacks having doubled across the UK over the last decade.
Cousins Resham Khan and Jameel Muhktar were left with “life-changing” injuries after they were sprayed with acid in their car last month.
Police initially refused to treat the attack as a “hate crime” but reclassified it as racially or religiously motivated crime after pressure from Mr Muhktar, who described the assault as Islamophobic.
Newham Stand Up to Racism highlighted extreme far-right and nazi material posted on on-the-run chief suspect John Tomlin’s Facebook page. A further post features a crusader with drawn sword held aloft and a roaring lion. It then incites “ordinary Brits” to “wake up and attack.”
Since the attack on the cousins, members of Muslim communities have become increasingly concerned for their safety.
In the wake of the attacks almost 300,000 people have signed a petition calling for a ban on the sale of corrosive liquids without a licence.
Ms Saleem told the Star: “These are act of terrorism. There have been numerous attacks on innocent Muslims in London and surrounding areas. Yet there still has been no government statement and no media outcry. Why?
“We must challenge anti-Muslim hatred in all its forms. The police have yet to recognise it as an Islamophobic act of extreme violent terrorism on innocent Muslims.
“We need to challenge the powers that are failing to properly address and investigate these corrosive attacks on our streets.”