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Muslim business targeted by Britain First in video receives threats

Muslim business targeted by Britain First in video receives threats

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday February 08 2017

The Shropshire Star reports on threats received by a Muslim businessman in Telford after his shop sign was used in a video by the far right group by Britain First to claim it was “proof of Islamic extremism in Wellington”.

The shop, Silicon Valley, bears a symbol on its shop front in Arabic writing which translates as “God’s messenger Muhammad”. The symbol has since been used by the far right group in a video posted on its Facebook page claiming the symbol bears similarity to one used by so-called Islamic State (IS) on its flag. 

Wahid Iqbal, director of Silicon Valley, said the symbol had braced his shop sign for 13 years and predated a similar style of symbol used by so-called ‘Islamic State’ (IS).

Mr Iqbal said the shop had received “real nasty messages” with “people saying they are going to firebomb the place” since the Britain First video appeared. 

It is believed that members of the far right group visited the shop twice making the video on the second occasion. The video has since been viewed “nearly 400,000 times on Facebook” and has been shared “5000 times” according to the local paper.

The video shows a Britain First member comparing the shop sign to a symbol used on the Isis flag. The man claims the similarities are “proof of Islamic extremism in Wellington”. The man in the video is also seen accusing someone who tries to confront him about the video of “being an extremist”.

Mr Iqbal told the local paper the impact the video and an impending protest by the far right group in Telford was having on his staff. He said: “I have been worried for the safety of staff. The staff themselves were left shaken by the incident.”

Mr Iqbal disputed the far right group’s attempt to hijack religious symbols and distort their meaning in order to provoke fear among locals. He said, “There is nothing we can do about the video but we won’t allow them to take our religion and for them to represent it the way they want.

“We want to show it is not about that. We are British taxpayers, educated in the UK. Our tax is going to the benefits they probably have. Going around in working hours to harass staff and trying to disrupt our community in Shropshire. It is absolutely absurd. If it was not so scary it would be laughable.”

The far right group has promoted its protest in Telford on 25 February as a march against “Muslim grooming gangs” claiming Telford “has been dubbed the ‘New Rotherham’.”

The local paper further notes that both the police and Home Office are monitoring the situation.

Mr Iqbal added that he and staff had also received messages of support from locals who have visited the shop “saying it is appalling and it does not represent Christianity or themselves.” 

Mr Iqbal also noted concerns about the effect of the far right group’s protest on local business. A petition launched by a Wellington councillor, Pat McCarthy, which will be handed to West Mercia Police and Telford & Wrekin Council calls on the bodies to curtail the effects of the far right protest on local business and community relations by insisting on “a rally rather than a more provocative march around our streets and that such a rally is sited away from retail and residential areas.”



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