Police and university security services across the UK are taking extra precaution after numerous Muslim students received ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ letters, which encourage Islamophobic hate crimes on April 3.
The letter urges students and the general population to ‘take action’ against Muslims with a list of hate crimes that increase in severity for points. People in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leicester, London, Bristol and Sheffield have reportedly received messages.
Muslim students say they feel threatened by these letters that were distributed by post across UK university campuses, but the police and counterterrorism authorities have given their assurance that they will be on-hand to prevent any form of hate crime, according to the New York Times.
The letter calls for people to verbally abuse a Muslim person for ‘10 points’ while pulling off a Muslim woman’s hijab earns 25 points. The letter goes on to list throwing acid in a Muslim person’s face and beating up a Muslim person. Torturing a Muslim, butchering a Muslim, burning or bombing a mosque and nuking Mecca are also listed.
“They have hurt you, they have made your loved ones suffer. They have caused you pain and heartache. What are you going to do about it? Are you a ‘sheep’ like the vast majority of the population?” reads the letter.
Iman Atta, director of anti-Muslim hate monitoring service Tell MAMA, said: “We are working closely with the relevant police forces on this matter which is being treated with the utmost seriousness,” according to The Independent.
The University of Bristol’s Deputy Registrar of Academic Services, Lynn Robinson, told students who received the letter that, “the University of Bristol and Bristol SU are united in our condemnation of the recent attempts to incite hatred and violence towards Muslims,” in an email, according to Epigram.
‘Our Muslim staff and students are part of our University community and we want to reassure all staff and students that we will not tolerate hate on our campuses.’
Zoulikha Belblidia, the Interfaith Officer for Bristol University’s Islamic Society, told Epigram: “I and the majority of Muslims are not responsible for the horrific terrorist attacks that have happened and responding in this way is simply an unjustifiable ‘excuse’ to carry out Islamophobic attacks on innocent people.”
Naz Shah, an MP from Bradford West said the North East Counter Terrorism Unit, which is coordinating an investigation into the letter, informed her that the letters appeared to be linked and that “a thorough and professional investigation is well underway.”
“I would appeal to the wider community to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police,” she said.
In response to the ‘Punish a Muslim’ letters, people have created ‘Love a Muslim’ letters, which read “They have loved you. They have made you curries and kebabs. They have created so much love between people. How will you repay this?”
“Actions” encouraged include smiling at a Muslim for 10 points, buying a Muslim a coffee and cake for 25 points, throwing flowers on a Muslim, inviting a Muslim to your home, going on a weekend trip with your Muslim colleagues, fasting in Ramadan and celebrating Eid, fundraising for the needy and buying a Hajj package for a Muslim family.
If you have received a hate letter, see any suspicious behavior or witness any violence on campus, immediately report this both to the police and your university security department.