Islamophobic letter campaign, titled ‘Punish a Muslim Day’, circulated throughout UK

The Islamophobia watch group, TellMAMA, reports of a threatening letter campaign reported to the organisation and the police numerous times on Friday 9th March and over the following weekend. The campaign publicises so-called ‘Punish a Muslim Day’, a day of violence against Muslims on April 3rd. The letter has been distributed in London, the Midlands, and Yorkshire[1].

The campaign encourages acts of violence such as pulling women’s headscarves, verbal assault, the use of acid as a weapon, and bombing or burning mosques[2]. Each action is attributed a certain number of points as a reward[3].

TellMAMA said, “We are liaising with the Metropolitan Police on this matter and urge anyone who has received this letter to report to us in confidence or to ring the non-emergency 101 number”[4].

The organisation also warns that the letter could be part of a wider Islamophobic campaign. Although counter-terror police have not found a link between this campaign and the letters sent by the so-called ‘Muslim slayer’ to mosques in London, Manchester, and the United States in 2017, some of which contained non-toxic white powder, TellMAMA notes, “A photo of the envelope suggests that it came from a sorting office in Sheffield, and sent with a second-class stamp, which mirrors the previous ‘Muslim Slayer’ campaign, so does the use of the sword imagery and how it juxtaposes it against the letter ‘m’ and the letter ‘s’”[5].

On 11th March, the group reported that the South Yorkshire police have opened up a full investigation into the letters. The operation is coordinated by Counter Terrorism Policing North East[6].

Assistant Chief Constable, Tim Forber, said, “These communications are extremely distressing and we appreciate that members of our communities will be very concerned … We’d always encourage anyone who is made to feel vulnerable to report this to police and it is really important that we are made aware of all letters received”[7]. He added, “Hate crime in any form will not be tolerated and we will work with our communities and alongside our colleagues in the counter terrorism unit to ensure that those spreading fear and hatred will be brought to justice”[8].

The issue has received attention from the mainstream media, and Twitter users who have received the letter have posted photos of it with warnings to be careful of Islamophobia.

[1] TellMAMA, 2018a.

[2] TellMAMA, 2018a.

[3] TellMAMA, 2018a.

[4] TellMAMA, 2018a.

[5] TellMAMA, 2018a.

[6] TellMAMA, 2018b.

[7] TellMAMA, 2018b.

[8] TellMAMA, 2018b.

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TellMAMA. (2018a) ‘’Punish a Muslim Day’ letter distributed in London’. [online] 9 March. [Accessed 11 March 2018].

TellMAMA. (2018b) ‘Update: South Yorkshire Police Opens up a Full Investigation into ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ Letters’. [online] 11 March. [Accessed 11 March 2018].