Far Right Extremist Admits Arson Attack on Synagogue in Exeter

A far-right extremist has admitted carrying out an arson attack on an historic synagogue.

Tristan Morgan, 52, set the fire at the synagogue in Exeter on July 21 last year.

He broke a window at the rear of the building, accelerant was poured in, then a match was used to ignite it.

Built in the 18th century, it is the third oldest synagogue in the United Kingdom.

The defendant, from Exeter in Devon, is currently in Langdon hospital and did not appear in court for a short hearing at the Old Bailey on Friday.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC was told that prosecutors have accepted Morgan’s guilty pleas to a series of charges.

Morgan has admitted to a charge of arson on July 21 on the basis he was reckless as to whether life was endangered.

He admitted to encouraging terrorism on or before July 21 last year by publishing a song entitled White Man to live-streaming website Soundcloud on the basis he was reckless as to whether his conduct would have the effect of encouraging terrorism.

He also admitted collecting information for terrorist purposes in relation to a copy of the White Resistance Manual on or before July 21.

Judge Leonard lifted reporting restrictions which had previously restricted the publication of Morgan’s pleas.

Morgan will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on July 1.

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Categories: Antisemitism, Exeter, Morgan, News, Synagogue, Tristan Morgan, White Resistance Manual

Air cadets help to stop bullying of fellow Muslim cadet

A group of air cadets intervened to stop the Islamophobic and anti-Muslim bullying of a fellow Muslim cadet by informing staff who then disciplined the perpetrator.

Tell MAMA has been given consent to share this story after speaking with the boy’s father, who wishes to remain anonymous.

He described how an older male cadet had targeted his son with Islamophobic slurs, including “terrorist” and statements like, “oh look, I can hear a bomb ticking”.

Other cadets overheard the repeated acts of bullying and informed supervising staff that racist bullying was occurring. Staff then warned the bullying cadet that his conduct was unacceptable and that he risked being sent home from their trip to Wales.

Staff continued to monitor the behaviour of the bullying cadet, who did apologise, and tried to insist that their comments were just ‘jokes’.

The father was also grateful for the continued support and noted how staff have also accommodated his son’s diet, with a halal option.

Following the incident, he will now volunteer his time with his son’s local squadron.

The RAF’s core values promote mutual (and self) respect, moral courage, teamwork, responsibility, and justice.

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Categories: bullying, News, RAF

Cllr Hanan Sarwar – One of the Youngest Conservative Councillors from British Muslim Communities

An 18 year old Conservative British Muslim candidate has been elected to serve on Wilmslow Town Council. Cllr Hanan Sarwar is one of the youngest councillors and a British Muslim of Pakistani heritage. He aims to make a positive change for students across his area, providing them with a voice and being an inspiration for them. He also hopes to assist young students who have been targeted because of anti-Muslim hate or Islamophobia.

He has already been invited to Downing Street by the Prime Minister and his success has been picked up by news agencies. We wish him the best for the future and with such a head start in life, future electoral success looks like it is in his path.

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Categories: Conservative Councillor, Hanan Sarwar, News, Youngest Councillor

Teacher Behind LGBTQ-Inclusive No-Outsiders Lessons Leads Birmingham Pride

A teacher whose lesson programme covering LGBTQ+ relationships has been at the centre of recent protests is leading the Birmingham Pride parade.

Andrew Moffat, assistant headteacher at Parkfield Community School, has been teaching No Outsiders classes at the school since 2014.

Mr Moffat was joined at the front of the parade by Khakan Qureshi, founder of Birmingham South Asians LGBT, and Saima Razzaq, from Supporting Education of Equality and Diversity in Schools (Seeds).

Pride organisers said there was “no-one better” to lead the parade.

No Outsiders classes aimed to educate children about the Equality Act, British values, and diversity, using storybooks to teach about LGBTQ+ relationships, race, religion, adoption and disability.

Some parents with children at the school raised a petition against the classes in January, which have led to protests at the school and the classes to be suspended.

The protests have since spread to Anderton Park Primary in Birmingham, with a protest held on Friday outside the school thought to be the biggest so far.

This year’s theme for Birmingham Pride is Love Out Loud. Organisers say this is a “celebration of our right to love, no matter our gender, sexuality, personal identity, colour, religion or race”.

Saima Razzaq of Seeds, an LGBTQ+ group set up following the protests against No Outsiders, is also leading the parade.

She said on Twitter: “I don’t want anyone to grow up in shame. I don’t want anyone to be forced to choose between their community, their faith or their family to simply be themselves.”

Speaking about the protests against his lessons, Mr Moffat said: “I have had maybe eight nasty messages. I have had literally six hundred from across the country saying this work is important.

“In Britain today, schools have got to find a way to tackle that rise in hate… We can’t ignore this.”

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Categories: Birmingham Muslims, Birmingham Pride, LGBTQ Relationships, News, No-Outsiders Class

How Islamophobia harms the mobility of Muslim women

A Muslim who was called a “f*cking P*ki” by a woman in the Sheffield area is now so concerned about her safety that has since avoided returning to the location of the incident, fearful of experiencing further racism.

Speaking to Tell MAMA, the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, described how the unprovoked nature of the racist abuse caused a deeper shock, given that it was in front of her young child and her mother.

She added that her husband has cautioned against her visiting that area again, and where she had felt the area was safe, she has since changed her mind, adding that this has hindered her ability to perform her daily tasks.

South Yorkshire Police closed their investigation into the incident after CCTV footage of the incident was inadequate.

The Muslim woman added that she was concerned that such insidious forms of racism have resurged and found a platform in the mainstream.

She described how the perpetrator was white, female, and in her 20s, and felt targeted because of her ethnicity and religious clothing.

Tell MAMA has long evidenced how Islamophobia and anti-Muslim prejudice curtails the mobility of Muslim women: the right to walk down the street or to access public transport free from abuse, violence, or discrimination, the right of religious expression and practice in workplaces and educational institutions without hindrance from management, to the expectation of equality as consumers.

As our report, The Geography of anti-Muslim Hatred, in 2015 warned: “The inability to counter Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hate is a failure to ensure the security and right to equal access of public spaces by Muslims in Britain due to their religion and creed.”

The racialised, gendered nature of Islamophobia, its overlap with misogyny, and the disproportionate targeting of Muslim women continue to demonstrate the importance of an intersectional analysis which is, in short, argues for the ‘politics of survival for black women’ and presents a framework to stop the “essentialism of difference”.

You can get advice from our confidential and free helpline on 0800 456 1226. Or through our free iOS or Android apps. Report through our online form. Or contact us via WhatsApp on 0734 184 6086.

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Categories: News, South Yorkshire police, Yorkshire

Jihadi Jack Ranted About Decapitating Friend Who Joined the British Army

A Muslim convert dubbed Jihadi Jack ranted about decapitating an old school friend after finding out he was in the British Army, a court has heard.

Despite Jack Letts’ apparent online outburst about Linus Doubtfire, his supportive parents still tried to help him, the Old Bailey was told.

Organic farmer John Letts, 58, and his wife Sally Lane, 56, are on trial accused of sending or trying to send sums totalling GBP 1,723 to their son even though they had every reason to believe he had joined Islamic State in Syria.

Jack Letts had left the family home in Oxford in 2014 aged 18, the court heard.

His mother, a former fundraising and marketing officer, had bought him a flight to Jordan, despite a warning that he planned to go and fight in Syria, the court heard.

From there, he travelled to Kuwait and then on to Iraq and Syria, the jury was told.

On October 1 2014, Lane told one of her son’s friends he was “OK for now” but “in the worst place possible and doesn’t want to leave”.

The next day, Letts revealed to a friend that he was “over there” in an “Isis area” but not fighting.

He allegedly said: “It sounds like he’s having the adventure of a lifetime.”

By early 2015, the defendants knew their son had married in Iraq and had no intention of returning to Britain, jurors heard.

John Letts accused his son of lying about his plans to leave and said he was a “pawn… helping to spread hatred, pain, anger, suffering and violence”.

In March 2015, police visited the defendants and formally warned them they risked prosecution if they sent their son property or money, jurors were told.

When he found out about the raid, Jack Letts allegedly responded:

“Please convey to the British police that I’m not planning on coming back to their broken country.

“Convey to them from me ‘Die in your rage soon you’ll be the ones being raided!’”

In May, he posted a picture of himself standing on the Taqba Dam in Raqqa, the heartland of IS territory, jurors were told.

In July, Mr Doubtfire posted a picture on Facebook as he completed his Commando Artillery Course in the British Army.

Letts commented: “I would love to perform a martyrdom operation in this scene.”

Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC said the defendants appeared shocked by his Facebook post.

Lane allegedly urged him not to be “so stupid”, saying: “How did we bring you up to be so easily manipulated?”

He responded: “I admit it was wrong if I seemed like I was joking. I genuinely believe attacking the British Army is a very praiseworthy action when the intention is correct.

“I would happily kill each and every one of Linus Unit personally.

“This message for you, Mum and (younger brother) Tyler, I honestly want to cut Linus head off.

“I hope he finds himself lost in Beji or Fallujah one day and sees me whilst I’m armed and I put six bullets in his head.”

His mother replied: “I’m really hoping that your disgusting comments about cutting people’s heads off are not coming from you, i.e. someone else is using your account.”

Ms Morgan said the significance of the exchange was that the defendants were never sure they were communicating directly with their son, let alone that the transfers they went on to make would go to him or what the money would be used for.

On September 2 2015, Lane allegedly transferred money to an account in Lebanon after her son insisted it had “nothing to do with jihad”.

She allegedly told him: “I would go to prison for you if I thought it gave you a better chance of actually reaching your 25th birthday.”

In October, she told him: “Clearly I indulged you, I made you think you were the centre of the universe. I regret this bitterly.

“I was a terrible parent that gave you too much power as a child – I should have made you adapt to the world, instead of adapting myself to your world. I have done you no favours by doing this.”

She said he showed signs of “mental illness”, adding: “I have to bear some responsibility for that as your mother.”

In a police interview in November, Lane denied helping terrorists, saying she hoped the money she sent would pay for her son to get glasses.

John Letts and Lane, of Chilswell Road, Oxford, have denied three charges of funding terrorism.

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Categories: British Army, Jihadi Jack, John Letts, News, Trial of parents

Racist screamed “learn to drive, f*cking P*ki” at Muslim woman

A racist driver screamed, “learn to drive, f*cking P*ki” at a Muslim woman after she hesitated at a junction.

She described how the racist abuse caused her to ‘freeze’, adding that the man was “ferocious and angry”, which left her unable to recall any details about the vehicle he drove.

The woman, who wears the hijab, and is not South Asian, felt that the perpetrator had made a racist assumption because of her headscarf.

The racialisation of Muslims, which concerns “cultural factors in addition to traditional, physical markers of race and ethnicity”, has impacted other faith groups, including Sikhs, who have been racialised as “Arabs” in a post-9/11 and post-7/7 environment, due to the ‘othering’ and delegitimising of their non-Western faiths, according to some academics.

Other academics contend that placing the concept of racialisation within a differential model helps to explain how exclusionary behaviours and practises (structural or otherwise) stem from essientalising forms of cultural difference.

Following the incident on May 13, she pulled over and spoke to their daughter about the racist abuse.

She declined, however, to report the incident to Staffordshire Police, feeling that no action would be taken, given how she could not recall details of the vehicle and described the perpetrator as being a white male in his forties.

The woman has not returned to the area has gained a new job in another city and consented for Tell MAMA to report the incident to Staffordshire Police for intelligence.

Tell MAMA verified 58 incidents (7 per cent) in 2017 which involved cars or other vehicles.

You can get advice from our confidential and free helpline on 0800 456 1226. Or through our free iOS or Android apps. Report through our online form. Or contact us via WhatsApp on 0734 184 6086.

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Categories: News, racialisation, Staffordshire Police

Hanzalah Patel and Safwaan Mansur – Convicted of Preparing for Terrorist Acts

Two friends convicted of preparing for terrorist acts in support of the so-called Islamic State after trying to reach Syria have been jailed.

Safwaan Mansur, from Birmingham, and Hanzalah Patel, from Leicester, travelled to Turkey in 2016 and 2017 after checking out an area near the Syrian border on TripAdvisor, a two-week trial was told.

Prosecutors alleged that the men had attempted to explain away their travel plans as an “innocent camping holiday”.

The men were each sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday to 14 years in prison, West Midlands Police said.

At the men’s trial, jurors heard that the pair, who spent nine days in jail in Turkey in 2017 after being arrested at an Istanbul hotel, bought camping equipment, outdoor survival clothing and airline tickets before travelling initially to Germany.

Prosecutors alleged that Mansur, 22, of Hampton Road, Aston, and Patel, also 22, of Frederick Road, Leicester, undertook a 24-hour bus journey from Istanbul to near the Syrian border during a previous visit to Turkey in 2016.

The men were arrested at Heathrow Airport in 2017 after being reported missing by family members.

Patel’s father contacted police in June that year after becoming concerned, having learned that his son had lied about leading prayers at a mosque in Germany.

During subsequent questioning by police, the men’s trial heard that Mansur said he had gone to Turkey’s Hatay province – described in court as a “transit area” for Syria – in 2016 to “have a look” like “lots of other tourists”.

Claiming items including water purifiers and solar chargers were found in the men’s luggage, Simon Davis, prosecuting, told the court: “Mr Patel, when interviewed, throughout maintained a no comment stance, as was his right.”

Jurors were told that Mansur said items in his luggage were gifts for friends at a mosque in Germany, where he intended to stop off en route to or from Turkey.

Outlining Mansur’s account, Mr Davis told the jury panel: “The people at the mosque liked outdoor pursuits like camping – that was the explanation being given.”

Lawyers acting for both defendants said the men had formed a “naive and idiotic” plan to cross into Syria, but had no intention of fighting or committing acts of terrorism.

However, jurors convicted the pair after trial, on April 1.

Following sentencing, acting head of the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit Chief Superintendent Shaun Edwards said: “If anyone is concerned that a friend or family member is thinking of travelling to Syria, it is very important that they tell us as soon as possible.

“Police and other agencies can offer support to help safeguard those who are vulnerable to radicalisers.

“The sooner we can intervene, the better chance we have of preventing people from becoming embroiled in the conflict and facing potential prosecution.”

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Categories: Hanzalah Patel, Islamic State, News, Safwaan Mansur, Syria

Pegida – A Snapshot into their Protectionist World of German Culture & Ardent Xenophobia

In 2016, intelligence services estimated that there were just over 23,000 right-wing extremists in Germany. A myriad of groups networking covertly, utilizing social media to extreme effect, was sowing major social discord. Germany has in modern times been regarded by the rest as immune to the reach of the far-right, partly out of collective shame for Nazism. The country had seen where hate led and would not saunter down that path again.


Pegida – The Rise of the Far Right in Germany

But today, the country exists as a hotbed of far-right extremism. The proliferation of populist, racist movements has caught many within its political class off guard. One such group is Pegida.

The movement caught on fire in late 2014 through to early 2015, whipping up mass anger around immigration. The organisation threatened Germany’s long held social cohesion, fracturing it in the backwaters of east Germany where anti-immigration attitudes had been rapidly bubbling for a while. Pegida’s aim was to force into the national conversation the concept of a national cultural identity being threatened by refugees and asylum seekers. It was dangerous, but for a while, it was effective. The group came to influence the political system, and particularly, the part Alternative for Germany (AfD). This report will look into their tumultuous history, their peak moments, setbacks, controversies and structural reasons for why they were as popular as they were.

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Categories: Germany, News, Pegida

‘No P*kis’ scratched into car bonnet in Peterborough

A Muslim man awoke on Tuesday morning to discover that someone in their neighbourhood has scratched the racist phrase “No P*kis” into their car bonnet.

Speaking to Tell MAMA, he condemned the “unnecessary” and “cowardly” act.

Cambridgeshire Police investigated the racist incident, reported on May 14, but closed the case, citing “no lines of enquiry”.

He added that this was the first time he had experienced such racism in his area.

The racialisation of Muslims, has, according to some shifted from traditional understandings of race and racism, and into a form of understanding where South Asian identity has foregrounded conceptions of “The Muslim” identity, despite the racial diversity of Muslim communities in England and Wales.

Tell MAMA continues to argue that any understanding of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred must be grounded in a deeper understanding of intersectionality, racialisation, and cultural racism, given how Muslims, irrespective of ethnicity, are subjected to a variety of racial slurs.

An explanation for this concerns how Muslims are ‘othered’ by sections of society, deemed outsiders, who are deemed to be “incompatible” with the UK on grounds of identity, culture, and security.

One in ten cases reported to Tell MAMA in the 2017 reporting cycle concerned vandalism.

You can get advice from our confidential and free helpline on 0800 456 1226. Or through our free iOS or Android apps. Report through our online form. Or contact us via WhatsApp on 0734 184 6086.



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Categories: hate crime, News