Racism is rearing its ugly face in Britain's south-western county of Cornwall with a series of Islamophobic attacks against British Muslims of Asian origin, The Independent reported Saturday, June 21.
"Racism is showing its ugly head," Tipo Choudhury, deputy secretary of the Islamic Center of Cornwall, said.
Choudhury has recently announced plans to establish a community center in the city to serve the Asian community.
But since then, the center has been the target of spate of racist attacks in the recent weeks.
Last Thursday, an obscene graffiti defaming Islam and espousing the cause of Cornish nationalism (the movement calling for more autonomous authorities for the county) was splattered across the center walls.
A pig's head was also nailed early this month to the center's door and "KKK" - referring to the Ku Klux Klan which is a name given to racist organizations – was painted in red gloss on an outside wall.
In a third incident, grafitti featuring far-right nationalist Party BNP slogans was painted on the center walls.
Choudhury also was racially abused by a passing motorcyclist while standing outside the building.
"It shows prejudice is alive and kicking," Choudhury said.
Police said they are dealing with the attacks as "critical" and linked.
So far, only one suspect has been arrested in connection with the attacks but he was later released on bail.
The attacks have drawn a strong condemnation from all the county leaders.
"(The attacks had) brought shame on us all," said local MP Andrew George, who also doubles as president of the Council for Racial Equality in Cornwall.
Dick Cole leader of Mebyon Kernow, the Party for Cornwall, also denounced the attacks.
"(It is) a crude attempt to foster division and intolerance," he said, calling for confronting these racist attacks by all means.
Police inspector Mark Richards said the attacks are tarnishing the country's reputation.
The graffiti was offensive "not only to Asians and Asian religions, but also to Christians and Cornish nationalists whose name has been taken in vain," he said.
Victor Downer, director of the newly-founded anti-racism group Unity Cornwall, said the attacks have sent shockwaves across Cornwall.
"If people are prepared to do this, to sneak out in the middle of the night and run the risk of arrest, what next? The community is feeling very vulnerable," he said.
Britain is home to a sizable multi-ethnic Muslim minority of nearly 2 million, mostly of Indian, Pakistani and Bengali backgrounds.
UK Muslims, who have been in the eye of the storm since the 9/11 attacks, complain of a growing Islamophobic climate in the European country.
A recent Financial Times opinion poll showed Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.
A poll of the Evening Standard also found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.
An earlier British study had accused the media and film industry of perpetuating Islamophobia and prejudice by projecting Muslims as violent, dangerous and threatening people.
Source: Islam Online (English)