Anti-Islamic slogans painted on a building near a mosque in south London have sparked a series of condemnations from different politicians, The Guardian reported.
“Disgusted to hear that Islamophobic slogans have been spray-painted near the North Brixton Islamic Centre. @metpoliceuk are working with Lambeth Council to have them removed, but let me be clear: all prejudice is cowardly and criminals will face the full force of the law,” the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, tweeted.
The graffiti was found on a building near to the North Brixton Islamic Cultural Centre in Brixton Road on Wednesday at about 11:00 GMT.
The Metropolitan Police said it was working with Lambeth Council to remove the “offensive remarks” from the building as soon as possible.
A statement from the Met said: “Officers were called at around 1100hrs on 1 January to reports of anti-Islamic slogans spray-painted on a building near to the North Brixton Islamic Centre in Brixton Road. Inquiries are ongoing at this time as part of a full investigation.
“We are working alongside Lambeth council to ensure the offensive remarks are removed as soon as possible.”
The Met added: “Shockingly, hate crime affects people from all walks of life and impacts on communities across London. All members of our communities have the right to go about their daily life without fear of verbal, physical or written abuse. The Met does not tolerate any form of discrimination, and we are committed to tackling offences like this as thoroughly as possible.”
Along with Khan, Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary and frontrunner for Labour’s vacant position of deputy leader, condemned the hate attack.
“Islamophobic hate is not acceptable and should not be tolerated, it is disgusting, hate has no place in our society and we should always challenge it whenever it occurs,” she said.
Councilor Mohammed Seedat, Lambeth’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “Many of our residents fear they are living in a hostile environment. The intimidating racist graffiti on synagogues and mosques won’t divide Londoners but will confirm the worst fears of many of our residents.
“The council and police will continue to reassure communities. But we also need politicians, particularly the government, to act responsibly in rhetoric and action to quell the rise of extremism and division in our society – whether it is Islamist or rightwing.”
Florence Eshalomi, the local Labour MP for Vauxhall, tweeted: “Disturbing to hear of a racist incident at the North Brixton Islamic cultural center – it was reported that anti-Islamic slogans had been spray-painted on [the] building opposite the cultural center. Anyone with any information pls contact the police via 101 quoting CAD 4725/01JAN.”
The estimates of 2009 suggested a total number of about 2.4 million Muslims over all the UK. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the number of Muslims in Britain could now be around 3 million.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in anti-Muslim hate crime in the UK with 2017 having a record number of Islamophobic attacks.
Tell Mama, a multi-faith monitoring group, recorded over 1,200 reports of Islamophobic incidents, a 26-percent surge from the previous year.
The UK reported in October 2018 a 17% increase in hate crimes over the past year, with 94,098 incidents recorded by police, up from about 40,000 reported in 2012.