UK police arrest man for sending anti-Muslim letters

Aditi Khanna, London
Published : 22:53, Jun 13, 2018 | Updated : 22:59, Jun 13, 2018

One of the anti-Muslim letters. TELEGRAPHBritish police have arrested a 35-year-old man for sending anti-Muslim letters to a number of MPs, including Rushanara Ali and Rupa Huq.
The man was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of conspiracy to murder, sending a hoax noxious substance and mailing anonymous letters entitled “Punish a Muslim Day”.
“Officers from Counter Terrorism Policing North East (CTP NE), supported by Lincolnshire Police, have arrested a 35-year-old man from South Lincoln in connection with an ongoing investigation into offensive communications,” CTP NE said in a statement.
“We would like to reassure communities that this activity is a result of an ongoing, intelligence-led investigation and was not in response to an immediate threat,” it adds.
While Ali, who represents Bethnal Green and Bow in east London, had described the letters as an “unpleasant experience”, Huq referred to it as a “scary experience”. Both Bangladesh-origin British MPs received the packages in their parliamentary offices in the Palace of Westminster and one of Huq’s staff members who opened the package was hospitalised as a precaution in March.
“It’s worrying that these things are getting through security screening because I know it’s very vigorously screened. Someone out there thinks it’s open season on Muslims,” Huq, who represents Ealing Central and Acton in south-west London, had said at the time.
According to Lincolnshire police, the package contained a “low level” noxious substance as well as the offensive anti-Muslim letter which had been received by a number of households across the UK. The letter incited verbal abuse and assaults on Muslims, as well as attacks on mosques, declaring April 3 as “Punish a Muslim Day”. It asked people to carry out violent acts including verbal abuse, removing a woman’s hijab or head-scarf, physical assault and using acid as a weapon.
It read: “They have hurt you, they have made your loved ones suffer. They have caused you pain and heartache. What are you going to do about it? Are you a sheep like the vast majority of the population?”
British Muslim MPs who received similar packages containing the offensive letter included home secretary Sajid Javid and Pakistani-origin Labour party MPs Afzal Khan and Mohammad Yasin.
Scotland Yard had sent specialist officers to the scene to assess the packages.