| ||In yet another attack, gravestones were smashed and uprooted in a predominantly Muslim graveyard in Leeds in what police are treating as a racist hate crime.|
The Independent reports,
“It is the second time this year that vandals have desecrated Muslim graves at the multi-faith Harehills Cemetery in the city. The attack left families deeply distressed after motorcycle tyre marks were scored deep into freshly dug grave-tops and beer cans were strewn around the newly created site, which contains 100 Islamic burial plots.”
“Similar damage was recorded in March when a teenager was arrested but not prosecuted.”
Attacks on Muslim gravesites has become a frequent occurrence with Muslim gravestones in the Southern Cemetery in Manchester desecrated three times in as many months in November last year.
The rise in attacks focusing on Muslim sites is deeply troubling. On Monday, the Lancashire Telegraph reported an attack on the shop of 77-year old widow, Sakina Bili Ali. Racist thugs sprayed a swastika on her shop and torched her car. Police are also investigating whether an arson attack on an Muslim prayer room last week at Manchester Airport was racially or religiously motivated.
Today’s Mail Online under the headline, “The epidemic of hate crimes against the very vulnerable reveals a callousness at the heart of society”, in which they describe the experience of David Askew, who faced a “daily gauntlet of hate” – the torment of which drove him to his death.
“So he was different. He was weak. And now he is dead, the latest statistic in an epidemic of hate crime against the most vulnerable members of our society that should make us all pause for thought.”
The Mail Online article refers to prejudice faced by disabled people, like David Askew, and the violence that is often targeted at vulnerable groups in society but there is a wider parallel to be drawn here. That is that such callousness, which desensitizes individuals so that they feel no compunction in desecrating a grave, or in terrorising an elderly woman, or attacking a disabled individual, must be challenged by all members of society. No group, vulnerable or otherwise, should experience prejudice and the violence that often accompanies it. It is ironic then that the Mail Online should speak out against the persecution of one vulnerable part of society and yet pursue an agenda that regularly exhibits prejudice and vilification of another part; Muslims.
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