PRESS RELEASE: 9/11’s Hidden Victims Mourn

Islamic Human Rights Commission

10th September 2004

PRESS RELEASE: 9/11’s Hidden Victims Mourn
Violence and discrimination the legacy for British Muslims

As the world gets ready to mourn once more the victims of the 9/11 atrocities, IHRC wishes to express its concern about the hidden legacy of the event in the UK.

Britain was already a deeply Islamophobic country when the atrocities in America took place, however the exponential rise in overt incidents of Islamophobia as opposed to existing institutionalized forms is shocking. IHRC wishes to highlight the tragic case of Yassir Abdelmuttalib a student viciously assaulted in north west London in June this year.

Yassir was a post-graduate student who was confronted by a group of youths whilst he was travelling to Friday prayers dressed in traditional Arabic clothes. The youths began taunting him calling him Bin Laden whilst he was travelling on a bus. On alighting the youths proceeded to pummel Yassir to the ground and used a council cleaner’s broomstick to strike his head repeatedly causing him to fall into a coma. Whilst Yassir recently came out of this coma, he is now paralysed, blind and likely to have suffered substantial brain damage to limit his intellectual faculties.

This type of violence is sadly not exceptional. An Iraqi Kurd who sought asylum in the UK from Saddam Hussein’s brutal dictatorship was murdered last week in what police are calling a ‘racial’ incident. Attacks against Muslims – from verbal abuse to extreme violence – are now a sad part of British daily life.

IHRC Chairman Massoud Shadjareh said today:

“At this time of reflection, it is important to see the whole picture and look at the devastating results of not only the events of 9/11 but various governments’ responses. The backlash against Muslims in the UK needs systematic and sustained responses from the British government, yet instead we see endless attention given to increasing draconian legislative measures which are used almost overwhelmingly against Muslims. Stops and searches against ‘Asians’ have risen 300% in the last year, and ‘anti-terrorist’ raids and arrests against Muslims are still totaling high. This is despite the fact that the majority of actual convictions for terrorism (6 out of 9) were in fact not Muslim. Likewise laws to protect racial minorities still do not cover anti-Muslim prejudice in the same way that they protect racial minorities and the Jewish and Sikh communities. Britain needs to urgently reevaluate its post 9/11 responses and this reevaluation can only be kick-started by government.”

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