A pig’s head was left at the doors to a community centre where Muslims pray on Boxing Day. The Thurnby Lodge Community Centre in Leicester is currently used by the As Salaam group whose controversial plans to takeover a disused Scout Hut in the area met with protests this summer. Muslims attending the regular prayer sessions have said they have been intimidated by the protestors, although the groups involved have claimed that their motives are not racist.
A Muslim who attends the Wednesday prayers at the centre said “Muslims are prohibited from eating pigs and whoever did this obviously knew that and were setting out to be offensive and make fun of something very serious to us.”
The latest news is that three people have been arrested in connection with the incident – a 40-year old woman and two men aged 37 and 46. It will be interesting to see whether there are any familiar faces.
We recently reported on how the main group protesting As Salaam, Forgotten Estates, was headed by a Leicester EDL activist, Chris Hopewell and that the EDL’s local organiser, Craig Elliot had been spotted at demonstrations. The EDL are not the only far right group who tried to exploit tensions between different communities over the affair – Nick Griffin attended protests along with the local BNP and hapless liars, Leicester Casuals United also stuck their oar in.
Infantile “hate crimes” like this are the kind of thing that the far right specialise in – just witness Nottingham EDL’s very similar attack on the site of a mosque in West Bridgford and EDL member Kevin Smith’s efforts in Dudley. However, it now seems as though new generations are apeing the efforts of these racist elders. Recently a 13-year old boy was arrested in connection with a string of racist attacks in Bingham, including putting a ham-wrapped burning cross on the doorstep of a Muslim family.
Academics studying fascism in the UK have suggested that the implosion of the organised political fronts for racism and anti-Muslim prejudice, the BNP and the EDL, is resulting in a rise of “lone-wolf” far right attacks. Without any official demos to go to, racists are acting autonomously to intimidate the people they hate. Indeed, Faith Matters have recorded 496 self-reported Islamophobic incidents in the past nine months of which 1 in 10 was against a mosque. It seems that, as their organisations collapse, racists are going back to taking matters into their own hands.