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May 02, 2003
Mosque attacked in Reading
London, The Muslim News:
Jame Mosque in Reading was attacked in the early hours of Friday morning in the latest Islamophobic incident to afflict the country’s 1.6 million Muslim community, reports The Muslim News. Speculation was that the backlash could have been caused by all the media hype about the latest suicide-bombing against Israeli atrocities in the occupied territories being carried out by a British citizen.
The Imam at Jame Mosque Yasir Hafiz told The Muslim News that he discovered a window was broken when he woke for morning prayers at 4.30 am and later the Mosque called the police. He said it was a particularly malicious attack because the window was double glazed. Hafiz suggested that could be connected with the backlash over the suicide bombing or may be linked with three other attacks that have been carried out against mosques since the start of the war with Iraq.
Reading has a high ethnic-mix, with Muslims making up 4 per cent of the residents, according to the latest census. There is also a sizeable Jewish population. The Mosque itself may also be an easy target for students being near to the city’s university.
Secretary of the Mosque, Bashir Choudhury, described the attack as a “disgrace.” He said he was very sad about the incident and did not know why it happened, but also suggested that it could have been provoked by all the adverse publicity against Muslims following the latest suicide bombing in the occupied territories.
Editor of The Muslim News, Ahmed Versi, accused the media of launching a “new witch-hunt” against Muslims. “The press has again been linking Islam with terrorism, when this is certainly not the case,” he said. He also criticised broadcasting organisations, in particular the BBC, for again focusing on extremist groups and falsely portraying them as being representative of the Muslim community.
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