Muslims in the UK faced a spike in violent threats in the run-up to a day dubbed “Punish a Muslim Day” by a British racist in an anonymous letter-writing campaign.
An Islamophobia monitoring group said it received a surge in reports in March and April after David Parnham sent letters encouraging violence against Muslims on April 3.
David Parnham, 35, last month admitted sending letters containing harmless white powder to Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Theresa May as well as threatening letters to mosques over a period of two years.
The letters were received by communities across England and Wales - including West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Leicestershire, London and Cardiff – and suggested pulling off women’s hijabs and throwing acid at Muslims. He is due to be sentenced next month.
The publicity surrounding the date contributed to a surge in reports, said anti-Islamophobia group Tell Mama.
A Muslim teenager reported being sent Islamophobic abuse via Snapchat on April 3 with the message sender saying they were “so happy” that it was Punish a Muslim day and called for Muslims to be “placed in concentration camps like the Jews”.
“Just get out of my country please stop killing my people we own this world not you” and added “Watch ur backkkk”.
Data from the monitoring group also showed that attacks on British Muslims have increased in violence with a marked shift from online abuse to physical confrontations.
Two-thirds of all cases reported to Tell Mama involved street-based attacks and abuse – a turnaround from five years ago when most cases reported were online.
The majority of victims were women, the group said in its six-monthly report.
The group said it was concerned at the rising level of violence and the “irresponsible language of mainstream figures” that has marginalised Muslims in British society.
The rising violence is “deeply concerning and possibly indicates that something is changing for the worst,” said Iman Atta, director of Tell Mama.
The UK last month reported a 17 per cent increase in hate crimes over the past year, with 94,098 incidents recorded by police, up from about 40,000 reported in 2012.
The statistics also revealed spikes in attacks against Muslims in relation to key national and geopolitical events including the vote to leave the European Union and terrorist attacks in the UK and France.