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Known ISIS and Taliban supporters exhorted violence against Hindus in Leicester—UK think tank

A Hindu temple was attacked in the presence of police in Leicester, United Kingdom

The Henry Jackson Society (HJS)—a trans-Atlantic think tank based in the UK—said that its investigations in the Leicester incidents do not find any “Hindutva extremist organisations operating in Leicester”. The HJS also says that false allegations have put the wider Hindu community at risk from hate, vandalism and assault.

In its report, Leicester: “Hindutva” and the Creation of a False Narrative, released in London on Monday night, HJS said: “Contrary to press reports at the time, the investigations did not find Hindutva extremist organisations operating in Leicester, but instead discovered a micro-community cohesion issue falsely presented as an issue of organised Hindutva extremism and terrorism”.

The independent fact-finding by the HJS also reveals that because of the violence, many Hindu residents imposed a voluntary curfew, while some relocated temporarily and yet others did not return to work due to fears for personal safety.

The organisation held an event in London to discuss the report authored by Charlotte Littlewood, HJS Research Fellow; Ravi Lakhani, Leicester resident and head of Vichaar Manchan UK, and Fiyaz Mughal, Founder of the organisations Faith Matters and Tell Mama UK.

Littlewood said that the violence that took place in September was blamed on Hindus while she found through her ground investigations that tensions had been bubbling among the communities much before the violence took place. She said: “When we visited #Leicester we realised this was an ongoing community cohesion breakdown which had started earlier in the year…”.

The investigation found that Hindus had been under attack for almost ten days with homes and cars with Hindu symbols bearing the brunt of the attack. Ten days after the attacks, the Hindu youth decided to take out a peace march after which they were accused of causing the violence.

The HJS also looked at the role of two Muslim men – Mohamed Hijab, who has supported IS fighters, and Majid Freeman, a Taliban supporter. According to the HJS, both of these men whipped up hysteria about “Hindu extremists” who did not exist. A matter of concern was that the mainstream media project these two radical men as community workers.

Lakhani questioned the mainstream narrative. He asked: “We have got to look at what’s going on in our liberal society that we are giving illiberal people a platform”.

Mughal said that the society will have to re-double its efforts to find out who is instigating these issues and to call the instigators out, adding that the unrest in Leicester was fermented into an international issue by local actors.

Significantly, the HJS investigation precedes another inquiry which has been ordered by city Mayor Peter Soulsby. The Mayor has appointed Dr Chris Allen, associate professor in Hate Studies at the University of Leicester “to do an independent review of recent events on Leicester Streets”.

The inquiry by the Mayor, who belongs to the Labour Party, is already discredited as Hindu organisations have decided to boycott it. Even the Conservative Party has raised an alarm at the appointment of Allen.

Reportedly, both Soulsby and Allen are known to side with radical Islamist ideas and have already blamed the Hindus for the violence in Leicester.

HJS says that this is the first in-depth collation of evidence and analyses of what led to the unrest in Leicester which raised eyebrows globally. The HJS works globally to combat extremism and advance democracy and real human rights.

Also Read: Are Hindu families being threatened out of Leicester in a replay of the Kashmir pogrom?