UK premier urges MPs to ‘stand up against hate crime’

May stresses racial hatred and hate crime should not be part of British society
LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday urged British lawmakers to stand up against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the U.K.
Speaking at the House of Commons in a final weekly question session before the Easter recess, May said hate crime should not be a part of British society.
“I think there should be a very clear message from all of us in this House [of Commons], that there is no place for racial hatred, for hate crime in our society,” May said, responding to a question by Conservative MP Peter Bottomley.
“They should not be a part of our society, whether it is Islamophobia or anti-Semitism,” she added.
“This is something we should all stand up against and do our best to eradicate from our society,” she said.
May’s response came amidst anti-Semitism allegations directed at the Labour Party and in the run-up to a so-called ‘Punish a Muslim Day’, advertised in anonymous letters sent to British Muslims across the country.
A group of around 500 people held a protest in front of the British parliament Monday, accusing Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn of “siding with antisemites”.
The Labour leader had issued an apology on Sunday night, saying, “I recognise that anti-Semitism has surfaced within the Labour Party, and has too often been dismissed as simply a matter of a few bad apples.”
British counter-terrorism police have in the meantime launched a probe into a hate letter calling for acts of violence against Muslims earlier this month.
The letter, announcing a so-called “Punish a Muslim Day” on April 3, calls on people to attack Muslims in the form of verbal abuse or physical assault, such as by removing a woman’s hijab or headscarf, or by throwing acid on them.
The counter-terrorism police said it had received reports of “potentially malicious communications sent to individuals across the U.K.”.
The letter shows a scale of “points” based on the action taken against Muslims.
“There will be rewards based on action taken,” the letter says.
The hate letter urges terrorist acts to “butcher a Muslim using a gun, knife, vehicle or otherwise,” and “burn or bomb a mosque.”
Tell MAMA, a group tracking anti-Muslim hate crime in the U.K., said the letter “has caused quite a lot of fear within the community”.
Also in March, four high-profile Muslim MPs received suspicious packages that contained a noxious substance, according to police.
One staff member was also hospitalized after coming into contact with the substance and the MPs’ offices were later cordoned off by police.
May previously condemned the targeting of Muslim lawmakers who were sent noxious packages and copies of an Islamophobic “Punish a Muslim Day” letter.–AA

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