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Death threats to school boys unravels the smokescreen of Islamophobia in the UK

A Quran incident brings death threats to students and parents (Photo: IANS)

The British are debating whether four students of 14 years and their families should be getting death threats because a Quran accidently fell to the ground. They are also debating the appropriateness of whether the mother of an autistic school boy should be summoned to a mosque, forced to wear a head covering and be made to profusely apologise before a group of men.

As the British society and media debate the bizarre happenings in a West Yorkshire school, British Home Secretary Suella Braverman has called the death threats alarming. She said that the case raises broader issues of free speech and added that teachers “do not have to answer to self-appointed community activists”.

It all began when a copy of the Quran was brought to the Kettlethorpe High School in Wakefield by a 14-year-old autistic child. The book accidentally fell from the child’s hands while interacting with other students. Consequently the cover of the Quran tore slightly and there were specks of dust on some pages. All hell broke loose and the incident spread from the school into the community with rumours that a Quran had been burnt, spat upon and that blasphemy had been caused.

The school suspended four students, the police got involved, a local Muslim councillor jumped in, at least two mosques intervened and people began issuing death threats to students and their families. The police recorded the case as a non-crime hate incident against the four students but ignored the death threats.

With British people expressing their concern over the swift escalation of a schoolboys’ matter, Home Secretary Braverman took a more clearer view. Expressing her concern, she said that a “disturbing video” has emerged …”which looked more like a sharia law trial”. Braverman noted that the mother of one of the boys was made to account for his behaviour in an all-male crowd.

Expressing worry about the sequence of events, Braverman said there has been “understandable alarm” throughout the country and she also shares that alarm.

In one of her staunchest comments on the West Yorkshire school events, the Home Secretary said that Islam should not expect a “special status” to protect the religion from disrespect. “There is a long, ignoble history of that, which goes back at least as far as the furore over The Satanic Verses”.

She was referring to Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses attacked recently by a radical Islamist in New York where he received serious injuries to his face and eyes.

The school incident comes close on the heels of the UK government’s review of its radicalisation policy called ‘Prevent’ which said that British Muslims are getting radicalised due to the toxic influence of Pakistani clerics who have succeeded in exporting blasphemy ideas to the UK.

To many Britons, the latest incident takes them back to the happenings at the neighbouring Batley Grammar School. A teacher and his family from Batley school are in hiding for over a year after he received death threats from the local community for showing portraits of the Prophet to school children. The school suspended him, conducted an inquiry and found him innocent. However, scared for life the teacher has been hiding from radical Islamists.

In another, rather gruesome incident four Afghan migrants were arrested for reportedly raping a 15-year-old girl in Dover in February. They were released even as the police conducts an investigation. The British coastal town is in turmoil with local people protesting against illegal immigrants arriving in boats mostly from war-torn Afghanistan.

Last month a news channel released a documentary about the series of sexual attacks on underage British girls who had been gangraped for years and their lives destroyed by Muslim Pakistani men. The hard-hitting documentary went to the extent of saying that the British police and local politicians tried to save the paedophiles instead of the intimidated and abused girls just because of political-correctedness and vague notions of Islamophobia.

The UK government got more insight into the working of radical Islam when Braverman, who had only been appointed the Home Secretary, made a visit to riot-torn Leicester in September 2022 where Muslim youth repeatedly attacked Hindus for over three weeks and gaslighted British media which blamed the Hindus for the violence.

The British government is dealing with false notions of Islamophobia and fake narratives on a continual basis, when it sacked a Sunni cleric as Islamophobia consultant in 2022 for sabotaging peace and issuing threats to Shia Muslims over the movie Lady of Heaven. Cinema halls in the UK stopped the movie after radical crowds issued threats over the screenings.

The Muslims in the UK have imported many communal vices and ethnic hate from Pakistan – a country that has enacted laws strengthening discrimination against non-Muslim faiths. It has become routine in Pakistan to rape, convert and marry minor girls from minorities to attacks and destory their places of worship. Pakistani courts support the rapists and the police intimidate the victims.

With more radical and extremist ideas seeping into British society and disturbing social cohesion, the mood is beginning to shift in the UK. As Braverman said recently, “political correctness” has created a blind spot for Islamist extremism to flourish. At a recent counter-extremism conference, the British Home Secretary said that a “highly coordinated” Islamist network was working in the country while looking “perfectly respectable” but contained extremist views beneath the surface.

Also read: Has the UK finally woken up to the threat of Islamist extremism?