Dark, disturbing: Muslims in London receive hate-filled letter after quakes in Türkiye, Syria

World
Sat, 18 Feb 2023 8:27 GMT
May author of letter welcoming deaths in earthquakes be taught to be humane, says chair of mosque that received Islamophobic letter.
Dark, disturbing: Muslims in London receive hate-filled letter after quakes in Türkiye, Syria

Two London mosques were shocked by Islamophobic letters they received after devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, in "appalling and disgusting" shows of hate at a time when the whole world has mobilized to help heal the wounds of the two countries.

A hate-filled letter was sent to both the UK's first Turkish mosque Masjid Ramadan and the largest one Aziziye Mosque on Wednesday at the same time.

The letters to the two mosques in London read: "I wish to make it clear that it is not heartfelt sorrow that I feel that thousands of people died. I’m only sincerely sorry that more Muslims didn't die."

Expressing disturbing glee at the suffering and death caused by last Monday's earthquakes, the yet-unknown author wished for more misfortune to befall Muslims in the region.

'Dark, upsetting, disturbing'

Erkin Guney, chairman of Masjid Ramadan, told Anadolu that the content of the letter was "very dark, upsetting, very disturbing."

"Still, I can't put into words that my stomach is still turning from the content," he said, adding it was filled with darkness and hatred towards Muslims.

He also said he informed the authorities as soon as they received the letter. When Anadolu visited the mosque, police officers were inquiring about the current situation following the hate crime.

"I can only pray that this person that has written this letter may have mercy in his soul and may he be filled with love and (may) someone teach you to be a bit humane, a bit more empathy and understanding of these tragic circumstances that we are experiencing in Türkiye and Syria."

Praising the work done by the police on the incident he said: "And I have to say, police have done a fantastic job. We didn't think anything was going to come about it but the police actually arrested someone for those letters."

Guney also said he was "very sorry for the experiences that he or she had."

"I can tell you this, the teachings of Islam are one of the most loving things that we have in our tradition, our culture, and teachings. And you should spend some time reading the Quran (Muslim holy book) or spend some time around some Muslim brothers and sisters and identify the truth."

'Unacceptable' language

Echoing Guney, Ebu Bekir Tezgel, a senior Imam at the Aziziye Mosque in Stoke Newington, also confirmed that he received a letter that had very "upsetting statements" about Muslims.

"Shocked" to receive such a letter at a time when people around the world were united in support of those affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria, he said: "This is unacceptable, disgusting, and a hate crime."

They had received similar threats in the past but the scale of this hate crime was "on another level," added Tezgel

"At this time of unity, when everybody no matter who they are, where they're from, what their beliefs are, was united in supporting the quake survivors, receiving a letter of this language, that was appalling," he added.

Tezgel said he also reported the crime to the police, saying: "They're doing the most to investigate who has actually written the letter and who sent this disgusting letter to us."

Hate crime has been on a rising trend according to police in England and Wales in recent years, with a total of 155,841 incidents in the year ending March 2022, marking a 26% rise compared to the year ending March 2021.

A total of 109,843 were racial hate crimes, while 8,730 were based on religion.

AA

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