Muslim in Loughton 'kidnapped and threatened at knifepoint' for organising local Friday prayers
Categories: Latest News
Thursday August 27 2009
|A Muslim in Loughton, Noor Ramjanally (pictured), who has been at the forefront of organizing Jum’uah prayers at a local community centre for Muslims living in Loughton was kidnapped at knife point and threatened by two men who demanded he stop organizing the weekly prayer session according to a story in the Guardian today.|
Mr Ramjanally, whose flat was recently firebombed and his family threatened in hate mail sent to his home, was ‘abducted from his home in daylight by two white men who threatened him with a knife, bundled him into a car then drove him into woodland. They demanded he stop organising the Friday prayer sessions at Murray hall community centre’, the Guardian reports.
Ramjanally said that the words spoken by his abductors matched the BNP propaganda that had been distributed to homes in the area, titled ‘No mosques in Loughton’, and which claims that ‘In parts of neighbouring Redbridge and east London the Islamification process is almost complete. We’ll do all in our power to prevent Islam creeping into our town.‘
Councillor Pat Richardson, leader of the local BNP group, denies that her party is responsible for Mr Ramjanally’s ordeal and tells the Guardian, “Firebombing is not a British method. A brick through the window is a British method, but firebombing is not a way of showing displeasure.”
Superintendent Simon Williams of Essex police confirmed that the incident was being treated as a hate crime.
In a statement Muslim Safety Forum Chairman, Abdurahman Jafar, said, “This is not just about a group of thugs attacking an individual. There is clear evidence that the BNP are about dividing our country and promoting hatred and violence. It is not logical that in 2009 in Britain an elected political party can do this with public funds.“
The attack on Noor Ramjanally, and the local community of Muslims that gather for Friday prayers at Murray Hall, follows other attacks on mosques and Islamic centres in Luton, Greenwich and Bishops Stortford.
We noted in an earlier article, the significant failure of Muslim women in Scotland to report hate crimes to the police. The number of incidents where Muslim individuals and properties have been singled out for attack has been steadily increasing, with protests against mosques still in the planning. The importance of British Muslims reporting such incidents to the police cannot be overemphasized.
A further and crucial point of action is for British Muslims to lobby for the establishment of a Parliamentary Committee Against Islamophobia, similar to the extant Parliamentary Committee Against Antisemitism (pcaa). With the election of two BNP members to the European Parliament, the recent protests against ‘Islamification’ that were organised in Luton and Birmingham, and the further protests still being planned, it is time local MPs and parliament recognized and acted against this growing demonisation of British Muslims and devoted resources ‘to monitor and survey Islamophobia wherever it arises; to exchange information amongst national Parliaments, non-governmental organisations and the public; to consider and take whatever action may be necessary to prevent further Islamophobia; to promote inter-faith contact, dialogue and co-operation; to organise conferences, seminars, visits and other activities as may be desirable to achieve the Committee’s purposes’, just as it currently does with antisemitism in the UK.
Write to your local MP (details of how to contact him/her can be found here) and request his/her backing for a parliamentary committee to begin work on challenging the rising level of Islamophobia in the UK.
Parliament returns from recess on 12th October though you can still write to your local MP addressing your letter either to the constituency office or to his/her office at the House of Commons, or contact him/her by phone or via email.