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July 04, 2007

Islamophobic attacks follow attempted car bombs

A number of Islamophobic attacks have been carried out around the UK following last week’s attempted car bombs in London and Glasgow airport, The Muslim News reported Wednesday.

In the latest incident on Tuesday, explosions ripped through a newsagents in Glasgow’s east end, owned by Shaif Ahmed, after a car was reversed into the store.

Shafiq said the attack, which gutted his newsagents in Smithycroft Road, might have been in revenge for the failed airport attack but police refused to link the incidents despite their similarities.

“We received a phone call from one of our neighbours, telling us that a car had crashed into our shop. The car was embedded right in the shop and went up in flames,” the 41-year old owner from Pollokshields told The Muslim News.

“I don’t know if this was a revenge attack. It is frightening. I was born in Pakistan but I have lived here all my life and I consider myself to be Scottish,” he said, adding that he had owned the business for almost 10 years and had no previous problems.

But a spokesperson for Strathclyde police said that there is currently no evidence linking the attack with the Glasgow airport incident.

“There is nothing to suggest a link with the Glasgow airport attack there has been a series of breaking-ins in the area on both residential property and shops,” the spokesperson told The Muslim News.

Following the airport attack, Glasgow MP Mohammad Sarwar warned that threats had been made towards members of the Muslim community, including an incident in Lanarkshire where graffiti had been daubed stating: "Kill all Pakis starting with Mohammad Sarwar."

A another possible incident involved a “petrol-bomb like missile” being thrown on South Bridge Street in Scotland’s biggest city on Sunday, which hit an estate agents but may have been aimed at a nearby mosque in Bathgate.

“It’s obviously a reprisal for the incident at Glasgow Airport. People wouldn't throw a petrol bomb at us for any other reason. We were lucky it was the wrong window, and the mosque was empty,” said Mohammed Tariq, who set up Sarajia Islamic Studies Centre 22 years ago.

“People have seen terrorism at Glasgow Airport and now they are looking at us and thinking we are terrorists,” Tariq told The Muslim News.
Stuart White, the UK head of Century 21, the estate agent where the bomb landed inside a toilet, said it was a “local attempt on the mosque.”

“There is shock in the local community. We’ve got an integrated community in Bathgate. There’s no tension here normally, and people have expressed their shock at what has happened,” White said.

In England, the former Imam of Jaffaria Islamic Centre in Blackley, Manchester, Ghulam Mustafa Naz was stabbed and “left for dead” in a frenzied attack in the early hours of Saturday.

The bearded 47-year old was said to have been ambushed by two white men during his daily walk in Blackley New Road. He was stabbed several times by two men, who escaped in a red Mazda driven by a third man.

His son Ali told The Muslim News his father, who was rushed to North Manchester General before being transferred to Hope Hospital, was left in a state of coma for 24 hours. He was said to be currently in a critical, but stable condition.

Detective Inspector Alistair Mallen of Grey Mare Lane said it was a “frenzied attack in which the level of ferocity used was quite extraordinary.”

“The victim is a family man who is well respected in the community and at this stage we are keeping an open mind about the motive,” Mallen told the Muslim News.

“This was a truly savage attack and we need people to come forward with information. We want people to examine their consciences and call us if they know anything. After all, imagine if this was your father, son or brother who was left there for dead,” he said.

For further information contact us on 020 8863 8586 or 077 68 241 325. Please acknowledge The Muslim News when using the press release

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