Islamist extremist motive considered by investigators probing Germany attack

German investigators said that an Islamist extremist motivation for last week’s fatal knife attack in Wuerzburg appears likely, but they have not so far found any propaganda or other extremist material.

They also plan more checks on the suspect’s mental health.

Friday’s assault in and outside a store in the centre of the Bavarian city left three women dead and another six people seriously injured.

The suspect, a 24-year-old Somali man, was shot in the leg by police and arrested after people surrounded him and tried to hold him at bay with chairs and sticks.

Officials have said they believe the suspect was a lone assailant.

He was sent to jail on Saturday pending a possible indictment.

Bavarian extremism and terrorism investigators took over the case on Saturday because an Islamist background appears likely, Munich prosecutors and Bavaria’s state criminal police office said in a statement.

They said that is supported by witnesses’ account that he twice shouted “Allahu akbar”, the Arabic phrase for “God is great”, and also referred to “jihad” after his arrest.

Investigators are still evaluating objects that were seized at his accommodation, including two mobile phones, but have not yet found signs of propaganda or extremist material, they added.

They also plan to order a psychiatric evaluation of the suspect to determine whether he can be held criminally responsible for his actions and whether he needs to be sent to a psychiatric hospital or rehabilitation clinic.

Prosecutors have said there were two incidents earlier this year that resulted in him being sent briefly to a psychiatric hospital.

Read more: Woman, 18, arrested in France over plot to target church

The post Islamist extremist motive considered by investigators probing Germany attack appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: Bavaria, Islamist extremist, News, terrorist attack, Wuerzberg

Malicious USB sticks posted to mosques nationwide

Securit alert for all mosques and Islamic institutions nationwide:

As-Salamu A’leikom,

We’ve been alerted by South Yorkshire Police that anti-Muslim and Islamophobic material being put on USB sticks and posted to mosques nationwide.

Should you receive a USB stick from an unknown source, we advise that you do not touch the USB stick or view its content.

Place the material and the envelope in a clean and sealable plastic bag to stop further contamination and help preserve the evidence and call 101.

For mosques in the South Yorkshire area, follow the above guidelines and call 101 quoting 420 of 28/07/21.

Tell MAMA can liaise further with the police if requested and can report matters on your behalf or anonymously.

We are attaching versions of the security bulletin which you can download and distribute freely.

To download our general security tips for mosques click here.

For general individual safety tips please find the general Tell MAMA security bulletin here.

We will continue to provide updates where possible.

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.

The post Malicious USB sticks posted to mosques nationwide appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Hate Mail, mosque, mosques, News, Police, South Yorkshire police

Four-fifths of Muslims in Scotland ‘directly experienced Islamophobia’

Four-fifths of Muslims in Scotland have directly experienced Islamophobia, according to a new report.

The Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group (CPG) on Tackling Islamophobia organised the first public inquiry into Islamophobia in Scotland and gathered 447 responses.

Of those, 83% of Muslim respondents said they experienced Islamophobia directly with Muslim women more likely to encounter it than men.

The inquiry also found 75% of Muslims said Islamophobia is a regular or everyday issue in Scottish society with 78% believing it is getting worse.

That figure rises to 82% of Muslim respondents with a Glasgow postcode.

Individuals warned that verbal and physical assaults are intensifying, particularly on public transport.

Asked about where Islamophobia takes place, the street was the most common answer ahead of public spaces such as shops or restaurants and public transport, then at work and places of education.

Just under a third (31%) said they have experienced Islamophobia at work, 18% at school and 13% at college or university.

The report has made a series of recommendations including that the Scottish Government should work towards adopting a formal definition of Islamophobia to promote understanding, to encourage reporting and to indicate its commitment to addressing it.

It also calls for proactively adopting a “no tolerance” approach; supporting initiatives to recruit more police officers from within Scotland’s diverse communities; integrating an understanding of Islamophobia into compulsory components of the Scottish education curricula and teacher training education; and funding and supporting initiatives that educate Scots about the damage Islamophobia does to Scottish society.

CPG chairman and Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “We pride ourselves on being a welcome and tolerant country, but it’s clear how much more work we have to do.

“There are people in Scotland who feel scared to leave their homes for fear of verbal of physical attack; are withdrawing from public services with devastating knock-on consequences on their health and education; and feel they are outsiders in their own country.

“This should shame us all.

“It is clear to me that we must redouble efforts to challenge and overcome hatred and prejudice.

“This requires politicians to come together on a cross-party basis, because the fight against hate is a fight for all of us.”

The report was authored by Professor Peter Hopkins of Newcastle University, who has been researching issues of racism and Islamophobia in Scotland for 20 years.

He said: “The evidence submitted to this inquiry makes it clear that Scotland has a very serious set of issues to address in relation to everyday Islamophobia and racism.

“Inquiry evidence included numerous references to verbal and physical abuse, attacks in and around mosques and religious buildings, and experiences of threatening behaviour on public transport.

“Almost four fifths of respondents were fearful of experiencing Islamophobia and this had real consequences for how they lived their lives.

“Islamophobia permeates all domains of Scottish society; it is not only restricted to one context. It threatens education, limits employment prospects, and impacts everyday issues including health, well-being and housing.

“It is time to address the issue of Scotland’s Islamophobia rather than denying its existence.

“The recommendations make it clear that we all sectors, agencies and departments need to make long-term changes to eradicate Islamophobia from Scottish society.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We are committed to tackling hate crime and prejudice, including Islamophobia in all its forms and we will carefully consider this inquiry’s recommendations.

“New hate crime laws ensure our police and courts will have the powers they need so those who would deliberately target others due to their religion or other characteristics can be prosecuted.

“Later this year we will report on the progress of our Tackling Prejudice and Building Connected Communities Action Plan, which was published in 2017 and included actions on raising awareness of hate crime and encourage reporting.

“We will develop a new hate crime strategy later this year in consultation with stakeholders.”

The post Four-fifths of Muslims in Scotland ‘directly experienced Islamophobia’ appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Anas Sarwar, anti-Muslim hate, Muslim women, News, Scotland

Racist and dehumanising graffiti targeting Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians found in west London

An upstanding member of the public, out walking in west London, discovered racist and anti-Muslim graffiti in two locations that dehumanised and disparaged Arabs, Palestinians, and the Prophet Muhammad.

Speaking to Tell MAMA and wishing to maintain their anonymity, the individual described passing through a quiet street on June 22 where, upon a steel girder, written in permanent marker they found the racist and deeply upsetting statements “F*** Arabs” and “F*** the Prophet Mohammed”.

Having walked further, they soon discovered other graffiti that included “F*** Palestine”.

Tell MAMA has since reported the incident to the Metropolitan police and flagged the racist graffiti with the local council.

Anyone can report graffiti in public areas anonymously – be it on bins, benches, and public buildings – to their local council, online or otherwise.

In May, Tell MAMA recorded a disturbing spike in reports of anti-Muslim hate, discrimination, and Islamophobia across social media and in some schools.

On social media, we catalogued examples of users referring to young Muslims as ‘future terrorists’ for articulating their support for Palestine.

The Independent reported on May 19, in an article headlined, “Israel-Gaza conflict triggers spike in antisemitic and anti-Muslim hate in UK” that our service “recorded 56 anti-Muslim and Islamophobic incidents between 8 and 17 May, compared to 13 in the week of 1 to 7 May” – a spike of 430 per cent since May 8.

Other coverage appeared in the Guardian and New Statesman. With the issue also being raised in parliament.

We have long championed the right to protest safely and free from abuse or violence, and with schools, encourage staff to facilitate dialogue and allow students to discuss topics that allow them to express concerns, raise awareness whilst making their voices heard on fundamental rights-based issues.

We also welcomed the swift action of First to suspend a bus driver who made racist comments towards a young girl in Norwich who attended a solidarity demonstration. Dorset Police launched an appeal after a racist targeted an individual following a Palestine solidarity demonstration in Bournemouth.

More broadly, Tell MAMA has long highlighted parental dissatisfaction when schools address issues of bullying, especially when involving staff members. And, one of our key recommendations for schools in 2018 and subsequent years concerned that “Teachers and senior members of staff should be reminded of their legal obligations to handle complaints sensitively and should do more to ensure transparency about their formal and informal complaints  procedures.”

We encourage parents, teachers, and schools to download our tailor-made safety tips for students to help give support to Muslim students and those impacted by racist bullying.

We will continue to provide updates where available.

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.


The post Racist and dehumanising graffiti targeting Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians found in west London appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: London, News, Palestine

Man facing terror charges diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, court told

A man accused of preparing acts of terrorism and claiming “all Muslims must die” has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a court has heard.

Richard Smith, 28, is charged with engaging in preparations “with the intention of committing acts of terrorism” between August 2018 and November 2019 at addresses in Aberdeen and elsewhere in Scotland.

He is accused of possessing and making explosive substances and powders and possessing a quantity of military-style clothing and weapons.

Smith is charged with conducting online research into the manufacture of explosive substances, improvised detonators and improvised explosive devices.

It is also alleged he created and possessed texts, videos and guides relating to matters such as paramilitary survival and resistance, combat techniques and “advancing anti-Muslim, neo Nazi and other racist causes”.

He is further accused of collecting or recording information “of a kind likely to be useful to someone committing or preparing an act of terrorism”, relating to matters such as the manufacture and use of firearms and other weaponry and the practice of guerrilla warfare.

One charge is contrary to the Terrorism Act 2000 and the other comes under the Terrorism Act 2006.

Smith, who denies all charges against him, is also accused of texting a relative stating that “all Muslims must die” and sending images associated with the Nazi party and messages containing “grossly offensive” language to another person.

He also faces a charge under the Poisons Act 1972 and one under the Explosive Substances Act 1883.

At a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow on Thursday, Ronnie Renucci QC, representing Smith, said his client was diagnosed with Asperger’s after the defence was given authority to have him examined by an expert.

He said: “I became concerned at his presentation and wondered whether or not he was on the autistic spectrum.

“A supplementary report is now required as to the impact of that diagnosis on Mr Smith’s behaviour and the relation to the charges that he faces and the amount of material that he had accumulated.”

Lord Matthews asked: “As far as Asperger’s is concerned is that likely to give rise of a question of fitness for trial?”

Mr Renucci replied: “I’m not anticipating that.”

Smith did not attend the hearing in person.

The case was continued to a further hearing on August 13.

Credit: PA News

Read more: Wannabe rapper who plotted terror attack ‘a very dangerous individual’

The post Man facing terror charges diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, court told appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: Asperger's syndrome, News, Richard Smith, Terror charges

Israeli foreign minister to visit UAE

Israel’s new foreign minister will head to the United Arab Emirates next week for the first-ever visit by a top Israeli diplomat to the Gulf country, the Foreign Ministry said.

Foreign minister Yair Lapid’s visit comes after the two countries normalised relations last year in an agreement brokered by the Trump administration, the first of four similar deals with Arab states that had long shunned Israel over its conflict with the Palestinians.

Both Israel’s new government and the Biden administration have said they hope to reach similar accords with other Arab states.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said Mr Lapid will visit the UAE on June 29-30, and will inaugurate an Israeli embassy in Abu Dhabi and a consulate in Dubai.

Mr Lapid was the driving force behind a new Israeli government sworn in just over a week ago that ended prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s record 12-year rule.

Mr Netanyahu had held up the agreements with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco as among his biggest achievements.

Israelis have flocked to the UAE since the agreement was reached to enjoy futuristic Dubai.

The UAE is a major travel hub, and the agreement has made it much easier for Israelis to travel further afield.

The two countries have also signed a raft of agreements to co-operate in commerce, technology and other fields.

Israel’s i24NEWS announced it has secured a broadcast licence to operate in the UAE and will open its own bureau in Dubai Media City. The 24-hour channel, which aims to cover international news from an Israeli perspective, is already carried by the UAE’s Etisalat and du cable providers.

Shortly after the Israel-UAE accord was reached, the Trump administration authorised the sale of 50 advanced F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, which would make it only the second country in the Middle East, after Israel, to acquire them.

The Biden administration put that agreement on hold in January after it drew fierce criticism from Democrats in Congress, who argued that the sale had unfolded too quickly and without sufficient transparency. But in April, the administration decided to proceed with the 23 billion dollar arms sale, saying it would work with the UAE to ensure adherence to human rights standards and the laws of war.

The Palestinians strongly criticised the normalisation agreements because they broke down a long-standing Arab consensus that recognition of Israel should only be granted in return for concessions in the peace process, which has been stalled for more than a decade.

Even before the normalisation agreements, Gulf Arab countries had been quietly cultivating closer ties with Israel over their shared concerns about Iran. Senior Israeli officials reportedly paid secret visits to the UAE and other Arab countries in the years before ties were normalised.

The post Israeli foreign minister to visit UAE appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: Abraham Accords, Israel, Lapid, News, U.A.E

Timeline: Usman Khan’s path to murder

Usman Khan’s path to his death on London Bridge at the hands of police marksmen followed a long history of involvement in extremism.

He killed his two victims at Fishmongers’ Hall at an event which had been intended to celebrate prisoners who had taken steps on the path to reform.

Here is a timeline of his life which ended after his fatal journey to London.

– March 10 1991: Usman Khan is born in Stoke-on-Trent.

– 2008 Khan begins preaching on behalf of terrorist organisation al-Muhajiroun in his home town, and distributing extremist leaflets. The house where he is staying is raided by police, but no action follows.

– 2010: Aged 19, Khan is convicted of terrorism offences for his role trying to set up an extremist training camp in Pakistan and spends the next eight years in jail.

– January 2011: While behind bars, Khan suggests he has access to a weapon and would “do someone in the eye or neck” and wants to die and go to paradise.

– March 2011: Khan and others are involved in an attack on another prisoner to shouts of “Allahu Akbar”.

– November 2011: He shouts during the two-minute silence for Armistice Day.

– June 2012: Khan recites a poem which includes the line “cut off the kuffar’s (non-believer’s) head”.

– May 2013: A stockpile of chemicals is found in Khan’s cell which would not have been capable of making a bomb but is still considered “very concerning” by prison staff.

– November 2013: A Church of England chaplain is injured during an assault by Khan on another prisoner. On the same day, a razor blade is found in Khan’s cell.

– March 2017: Now at HMP Whitemoor, Khan talks about his Muslim faith with Michael Adebowale, who murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby.

– June 2017: Khan is considered to be an “influential” terrorist prisoner involved in “extremist bullying”.

– August 2017: He is reported as laughing or cheering about the Barcelona terror attack.

– November 2017: He applies for his first course with Learning Together, studying creative writing. He goes on to complete a series of courses with the scheme at HMP Whitemoor.

– April 2018: A psychologist’s report finds that Khan is polite to staff, well involved in his education and in one incident stopped other prisoners getting involved when two other inmates were fighting.

– June 2018: While Khan’s behaviour has apparently begun to improve, a prison report warns: “He may be behaving in a deceptively compliant manner in order to facilitate his release.”

– October 2018: Intelligence on Khan suggests he will “return to his old ways”, interpreted as meaning terrorism. However, he has also engaged positively with the Learning Together scheme.

– December 2018: Khan is released from jail on various licence conditions and lives in Stafford. He is visited regularly by probation staff and the police, who are not told of intelligence concerns that he may be faking compliance.

– March 2019: Khan maintains contact with Learning Together and is involved with filming a video for the organisation.

– June 2019: He attends a Learning Together event at one of his former prisons, HMP Whitemoor.

– August 2019: Khan is discussed at a Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa) meeting of probation, police and security officials. A decision is apparently made that Khan can travel to London for the Learning Together anniversary event at Fishmongers’ Hall in November, but there is no written record made of what is said.

– October 2019: Khan moves to his own flat and spends hours in the darkened apartment playing video games and watching DVDs. He has trouble getting employment.

– November 19: At another Mappa meeting Khan’s trip to London is discussed only in terms of logistics, not the risk Khan poses. MI5 said the trip would have provided useful information on whether they could close their file on him, but failed to provide surveillance as intended.

– November 28: Khan gets his hair and beard trimmed in preparation for the attack, and at Stafford market buys the knives he will use to kill Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones.

– November 29: Khan murders the two Cambridge graduates and injures three others at Fishmongers’ Hall, before he is shot dead by police on London Bridge.

The post Timeline: Usman Khan’s path to murder appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: Fishmongers' Hall, London Bridge, News, Timeline, Usman Khan

Uighur exiles describe forced abortions and torture in China

Three Uighurs who fled from China to Turkey have described forced abortions and torture by Chinese authorities in the far western Xinjiang region.

They were speaking ahead of giving evidence to a people’s tribunal in London that is investigating if Beijing’s actions against ethnic Uighurs amount to genocide.

One woman said she was forced to have an abortion when she was six and half months pregnant, a former doctor spoke of draconian birth control policies, and a man alleged he was “tortured day and night” by Chinese soldiers while he was imprisoned in the remote border region.

They spoke to the Associated Press before giving by videolink to the independent UK tribunal, which is expected to draw dozens of witnesses when it opens four days of hearings on Friday.

The tribunal, which does not have UK Government backing, will be chaired by prominent human rights lawyer Geoffrey Nice, who led the prosecution of ex-Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and worked with the International Criminal Court.

While the tribunal’s judgment is not binding on any government, organisers hope the process of publicly laying out evidence will compel international action to tackle growing concerns about alleged abuses in Xinjiang against the Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group.

One witness, mother-of-four Bumeryem Rozi, 55, said authorities in Xinjiang rounded her up along with other pregnant women to abort her fifth child in 2007. She said she complied because she feared that otherwise authorities would have confiscated her home and belongings and endangered her family.

“I was six and a half months pregnant. The police came, one Uighur and two Chinese. They put me and eight other pregnant women in cars and took us to the hospital,” Ms Rozi said.

“They first gave me a pill and said to take it. So I did. I didn’t know what it was. Half an hour later, they put a needle in my belly. And some time after that I lost my child.”

Semsinur Gafur, a former obstetrician-gynaecologist who worked in a village hospital in Xinjiang in the 1990s, said she and other female clinicians used to go house to house with a mobile ultrasound machine to check if anyone was pregnant.

“If a household had more births than allowed, they would raze the home. They would flatten the house, destroy it,” Ms Gafur said.

“This was my life there. It was very distressing. And because I worked in a state hospital, people didn’t trust me. The Uighur people saw me as a Chinese traitor.”

A third exile, Mahmut Tevekkul, said he was imprisoned and tortured in 2010 by Chinese authorities who interrogated him for information about one of his brothers. He said the brother was wanted partly because he published a religious book in Arabic.

Mr Tevekkul described being beaten and punched in the face during questioning.

“They put us on a tiled floor, shackled our hands and feet and tied us to a pipe, like a gas pipe. There were six soldiers guarding us. They interrogated us until the morning and then they took us to the maximum-security area of the prison,” he said.

The tribunal is the latest attempt to hold China accountable for alleged rights abuses against the Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim and ethnic Turkic minorities.

An estimated one million people or more — most of them Uighurs — have been confined in re-education camps in Xinjiang in recent years, according to researchers.

Chinese authorities have been accused of imposing forced labour, systematic forced birth control and torture, and separating children from incarcerated parents.

Beijing has flatly rejects the allegations. Officials have characterised the camps, which they say are now closed, as vocational training centres to teach Chinese language, job skills and the law to support economic development and combat extremism.

The hearings’ organisers said Chinese authorities have ignored requests to participate in the proceedings.

The post Uighur exiles describe forced abortions and torture in China appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: China, News, Persecution, Turkey, Uighurs, Xinjiang

JAILED: Racist who threatened and abused taxi driver

A racist who robbed, threatened, and abused a taxi driver in a shocking Islamophobic hate crime received a three-year prison sentence last week (May 27).

Samuel Thomas Egerton, 23, of Grange Road, Cheddleton, pleaded guilty to charges of robbery and religiously aggravated fear or provocation of violence at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

Egerton filmed himself subjecting the taxi driver to racist abuse, stating: “You’re getting terrorised by English people because you’re a dirty P*** b*****d bruv. Dirty Muslim b*****d.”

Egerton also used the homophobic slur “f*****,” threatened to “smash his head in” and steal his taxi, before using more racist language, “P*** f*****s, I’ll take his taxi off him if he doesn’t take me home,” the recording captured.

The footage Egerton filmed went viral on January 18, 2020, triggering a police investigation that resulted in Egerton’s arrest three days later, admist national public outcry and political condemnation locally.

It emerged that the racist incident took place in the early hours of August 4, 2019.

Prosecutor Steven Bailey said: “He filmed the driver on his phone. The driver was scared. The defendant was chanting, ‘England till we die’.”

After subjecting the taxi driver to horrific racist abuse and threats, Egerton robbed the driver of £19 and fled the scene after pulling on the handbrake – which caused the vehicle to swerve – and was travelling at 25mph.

StokeOnTrentLive reported that police had initially looked at a community resolution order until the video appeared online.

In a victim impact statement, the taxi driver spoke of their fear of working nights and his loss of confidence.

Judge Paul Glenn rejected the mitigating claims for a non-custodial sentence and said: “You immediately quibbled about the price and you handed over £13 and then began shouting about being British, about being white. The driver was scared.

“You continued in your diatribe. You made disgusting racist remarks. You threw in a few homophobic comments for good measure.”

Whilst the judge did accept that Egerton was ‘remorseful and ashamed and that it was spontaneous, he added that the serious nature of crime required an immediate prison sentence.

A headline on StokeOnTrentLive read “Footy coach cries like a baby as he’s jailed for vile rant.”

Detective Constable Jon Snape, of CID North, said: “Samuel Egerton subjected the taxi driver to a terrifying ordeal. He demanded cash from the driver, was racially abusive and threatened him. Thankfully, the driver was not harmed but he did steal cash from him.

“He has now received a custodial sentence for his actions that morning.”

Chief Inspector Mark Thorley, of the Staffordshire Moorlands Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “I, along with others, saw the social media footage of this horrendous act of racially motivated abuse and was disgusted. I am reassured that the investigation which quickly followed has led to this point where the offender has been brought to justice and the victim of this crime has been supported. The actions of this person do not reflect the majority of the Moorlands community who I know from the contact I have had are as shocked as myself.

“We will continue to ensure that the Staffordshire Moorlands continues to be the safe place it is to live, visit and work.”

For taxi drivers, Tell MAMA’s Safety, Security, and Beyond campaign ensures drivers know their rights, how to report anti-Muslim hate and Islamophobia, and how to report hate crime. We can report incidents to the police on behalf of drivers or take reports in confidence.









The post JAILED: Racist who threatened and abused taxi driver appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: hate crime, News, Staffordshire Police, taxi drivers