British Muslims targeted with abuse after Liverpool attack
Muslims have been the target of hatred and discrimination after Sunday’s attack outside Liverpool’s Women’s Hospital, one of the city’s MPs said on Tuesday.
Labour MP Kim Johnson, who represents Liverpool Riverside, said her team was aware of Islamophobic abuse directed at women wearing the hijab.
This abuse follows a car explosion in the northern British city on Sunday morning, in which the dead suspect was a 32-year-old asylum seeker who converted from Islam to Christianity in 2017.
“Incidents such as these, while extremely rare, always provoke a spike in race hate and particular in the Muslim community,” Johnson told the UK House of Commons.
“My team have been hearing incidents where women wearing the hijab are facing abuse,” she said.
The abuse directed at Liverpool’s Muslims “is an example of the way that Muslims have been increasingly racialised and stereotyped over recent decades”, MEND, a not-for-profit group that tracks Islamophobia in the UK, said in a statement.
“Assumptions and assigning blame for such atrocities to Muslims before the facts are known is not uncommon and it is important that public figures show maturity and recognise the impacts of their statements,” read the statement released Tuesday.
MEND referred to an LBC interview with former UK minister Kim Howells - who “blamed Muslim communities for being ‘highly secretive’, not engaging with police, and allowing terrorists to go undetected” - as an example of ever-present Islamophobia following the attack.
Numerous public figures from Liverpool have spoken about the need for unity and to avoid discrimination against certain communities in the wake of the explosion.
Liverpool City Mayor Joanne Anderson appealed for people “not [to] be guided by the sort of rising hate that often happens after an attack like this”.
“Don’t let it divide our city. We are very strong as a community and the people to blame are [those] involved - nobody else,” she said.
Four Liverpool faith leaders also released a statement calling for unity.
Canon Crispin Pailing of St Nicholas Church, Leyla Mashjari of the Al-Ghazali Multicultural Centre, Priyanka Mohta of the Hindu Cultural Organisation, and Rabbi Avinoam Czitron said: “Sunday’s terrorist attack has shocked people of every faith, and those of no faith, across the city.”
“Terrorism is an indiscriminate act against people of all faiths, no faith and of all backgrounds,” they said.
The terror attack occurred when a homemade device exploded in a taxi just before 11:00am GMT on Sunday.
The taxi driver, David Perry, luckily escaped and survived.
Emad Al Swealmeen, the suspected bomber, died in the vehicle. He was an asylum seeker who arrived in Britain in 2014.
The bombing has been declared a terrorist incident, but detectives have not found evidence of an ideological motive.
Britain raised its terror threat level to “severe” following the attack.