Police in the UK have launched a hate crime investigation after people received letters asking them to carry out attacks on Muslims.
West Yorkshire Police said that it had received around six reports of letters advertising “Punish a Muslim Day”, while Londoners and Birmingham citizens said they had received identical posts.
A Bradford Councillor, who was among the recipients of the letter, said that when he opened it and saw the content he was “horrified.”
“I think it has been sent out by a group with the intent of alarming people and to stir up racial hatred,” he told The Telegraph. “My main concern is that it could get into the hands of other disaffected people in Bradford who just need that push to act. Some people may look at is at a sick joke. I don’t.”
The letters pledged “rewards” for those who do violent acts against Muslims ranging from verbal abuse of them to burning or bombing mosques.
In the letters, there is a points-based scoring system, rising from 25 “points” for pulling the headscarf off a Muslim woman to 2,500 for “nuke Mecca”.
In addition, they encourage people to “torture” and “butcher” Muslims in a day of Islamophobic violence on April 3.
“Counter Terrorism Policing North East are coordinating the investigation at this time and will consider any potential links to existing inquiries,” a West Yorkshire Police spokesman said.
“Anyone with any concerns about a communication they may have received should contact their local police force.”
Meanwhile, Iman Atta, director of anti-Muslim hate monitoring service Tell MAMA, said that the letters have caused “fear within the community,” adding, “They are asking if they are safe, if their children are safe to play outdoors.”
London’s Metropolitan police recorded more than 1,200 hate crime incidents against Muslim victims from April 2016 to March 2017, pointing to a surge of Islamophobia in the UK.
Muslim community leaders had already warned of a hike in hate crimes following a bombing at a concert in Manchester last year, which killed 22 people and injured around 120.