UK police arrest man over ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ letters

Islamophobic hate crimes in the UK have risen by more than 30 percent annually, police reports show. (AFP)
Updated 13 June 2018
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UK police arrest man over ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ letters

LONDON: British counter-terrorism police have arrested a man on suspicion of sending letters entitled “Punish a Muslim Day” that urged people around the country to commit violent acts.
The unnamed 35-year-old from Lincoln in northeast England was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of sending letters conveying a threatening message and of sending a hoax noxious substance. He was taken to a police station for questioning.
“These letters seek to cause fear and offense among our Muslim communities. They also seek to divide us,” said Martin Snowden, head of Counter Terrorism Policing North East, in an earlier statement on the investigation.
“Yet in spite of this our communities have shown strength in their response to such hatred and in their support for each other.”
The letters, which designated April 3 as “Punish a Muslim Day” and proposed ranking acts of violence according to a points system, started arriving in some people’s post in March. Among others, four members of parliament with South Asian backgrounds received copies.
Media reports about the letters caused widespread outrage, with tens of thousands of people taking to social media to show support for Muslims with hashtags such as #LoveAMuslimDay and #WeStandTogether.
In the event, April 3 passed without any reported surge in anti-Muslim violence.
Hate crimes in Britain surged in 2016/17, according to official figures.
Significant factors included the June 2016 vote to leave the European Union, a goal linked to curbing immigration in the eyes of some Brexit supporters, as well as a spate of attacks by Islamic extremists in the first half of 2017.
Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism police officer said in February this year that Britain faced a new and significant threat from far-right terrorism.
In an unrelated case, an alleged member of a white supremacist group pleaded guilty earlier this week to planning to murder a female member of parliament with a 19-inch machete. The court heard he considered her a target because he perceived her to be pro-immigration.


Eight wounded in China bus knife rampage

Updated 25 min 11 sec ago
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Eight wounded in China bus knife rampage

  • The assault occurred in Xi’an, the former imperial city where tourists flock to see China’s famed Teracotta Army.
  • Mass stabbings are not uncommon in China, which heavily restricts access to firearms. In April a man stabbed nine college students in the same province where Xi’an is located.

BEIJING: A man attacked and wounded eight people Friday in a frenzied knife attack that began on a public bus in northern China, state media said.
The assault occurred in Xi’an, the former imperial city where tourists flock to see China’s famed Teracotta Army.
The suspected attacker was arrested by police, the People’s Daily reported on its Twitter account, posting video of a man being restrained by officers as a siren wailed in the background.
“Suspect that slashed and injured multiple people on and off the bus has been arrested by local police,” the paper wrote.
A video posted on China’s Weibo social networking platform showed harrowing scenes of a woman and a child lying bloodied and visibly unconscious next to the bus.
Local newspaper Huashang Bao, quoting a police note, said the man started attacking people on the bus, including the driver, before exiting the vehicle and assaulting people nearby.
Mass stabbings are not uncommon in China, which heavily restricts access to firearms. In April a man stabbed nine college students in the same province where Xi’an is located.
Two months earlier a man killed a woman and wounded 12 others at a popular Beijing shopping mall.