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July 26, 2003

Muslim cemetery in Leicester vandalised for second time

London, The Muslim News:

Despite police promises of extra patrols, the Muslim section of the Saffron Hill cemetery in Leicester vandalised for the second time in four months, The Muslim News has learnt.

The Muslim Burial Council of Leicestershire (MBCOL) found that 30 tomb stones had been vandalised after being alerted about the extent of the destruction by the local Council when it was noticed by its cemetery staff on late Friday afternoon.

Following similar vandalism in March, the local police had pledged to increase vigilance in the area.

Suleman Nagdi, trustee of MBCOL, voiced alarm about the vandalism and said the Muslim community in Leicester were distressed at the continuing desecration of their graves, despite community relations generally being very good. "It is a worrying time for Muslims. Is this incidence the shape of things to come?" he told The Muslim News.

No one was immediately available from the local police to comment, but after the March incident, the Muslim community suggested to Leicester Council to install CCTV, but they refused. Nagdi said that the issue was going to be pursued again with the Council.

The desecration is the latest in a growing list of Islamophobic attacks against Muslims, which has increased in the background of the war against Iraq. The vandalism of Leicester cemetery in March coincided with a firebomb attack on the Madinah Masjid mosque in Batley, West Yorkshire. The Muslim News documented four other attacks during the month Britain joined the US in invading Iraq, including Jami Mosque in Portsmouth, which was desecrated with racist slogans and a swastika daubed on the front doors.

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