Police warn British Jews of revenge attacks
As the Gaza death toll rises, police are increasingly concerned about the possibility of “reprisal” attacks on Jewish people and buildings. One post on an Islamic discussion forum, referring to an anti-Israel demonstration this weekend, said: “We need to take some weapons with us, preferably sub-machineguns.”
More than 300 police officers were on duty outside the Israeli Embassy in London last night because of fears of clashes between rival demonstrators.
Anti-Semitic incidents have increased in recent weeks with a synagogue firebombed in northwest London and anti-Israeli graffiti appearing in many Jewish areas.
In France yesterday a 15-year-old girl was attacked by ten youths as she left her school in Villiers-le-Bel, north of Paris. Three of her alleged attackers – aged between 13 and 15 and all from her own school – were arrested on suspicion of “aggravated violence and anti-Semitic insults”.
List of leading British Jews is posted on extremist website
Apprentice star Sir Alan Sugar and pop producer Mark Ronson are among a list of leading British Jews thought to be targeted by extremists over Israel’s assault on Gaza.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Labour peer Lord Levy were also named on an Islamic website. A strand on the site asks for help to compile a list, and a link to the Power 100 list of top British Jews is added. Other figures indentified on the website include Anthony Julius, who was Princess Diana’s divorce lawyer. On the site, a figure called “Abuislam” asks: “Have we got a list of top Jews we can target?”
London has been hit by a wave of anti-Semitic attacks prompted by the attacks launched by Israel on Gaza.
Jewish groups today warned prominent members of the community to be vigilant.
Gaza conflict fuelling anger in UK, Muslims warn Brown
Anger within Britain’s Muslim communities over the Gaza conflict has reached “acute levels of intensity” that could have repercussions for national security, leading Muslims will warn Gordon Brown today.
In a letter to the prime minister, representatives of Muslim organisations will say the Israeli government’s use of “disproportionate force” to combat threats to its security has “revived extremist groups” and “empowered their message of violence and perennial conflict”.
The letter, a copy of which can be read on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website, also says that the “current, partisan and simplified narrative” emanating from the White House is of “serious and direct harm” to relations between the UK, North America and Arab countries.
Among the signatories are Dr Usama Hasan, imam of Al-Tawhid mosque, London, Dilwar Hussain, head of the policy research centre at the Islamic Foundation, Zareen Roohi Ahmed from the British Muslim Forum and Ed Husain, co-director of the anti-extremism thinktank the Quilliam Foundation. All are active in tackling extremism in the UK and overseas.
They say it is imperative for the UK to distance itself from the Bush government. The letter goes on: “We urge you to make concerted and successful efforts to convince the US administration of the dangers of its approach and to ensure the incoming Obama administration forges a more enlightened direction. We also believe the UK – bilaterally and as part of the EU – has an important role to demonstrate to Israel that the threshold of acceptable behaviour has been perilously transgressed.”
The letter adds: “As you are aware, the anger within UK Muslim communities has reached acute levels of intensity. The Israeli government’s use of disproportionate force … has revived extremist groups and empowered their message of violence and perennial conflict. For Muslims in the UK and abroad, we run the risk of potentially creating a loss of faith in the political process.”
A perceived double standard has alarmed the Young Muslims Advisory Group (YMAG), which the government launched last October to help prevent violent extremism. The group sent a letter to Brown this week saying government failure to condemn Israeli action against Palestinians was undermining efforts to reduce homegrown radicalisation.
The letter, first published in Muslim Youth, said: “We are in grave danger of sending a message to youth today that the mass murder of civilians can be justified if the right grievances are cited. In the current climate there is a real danger young people who witness the impotence of institutions that are supposed to be protecting innocent life will turn to other organisations in an effort to make their voices heard and the violence stop.”