Counter-terror police are leading an investigation into a number of anti-Muslim letters sent to people around the UK, after the international media widely reported the “malicious communications”.
The shocking letters, titled ‘Punish a Muslim Day’, were sent out on March 8th and were highlighted by the discredited group Tell Mama, which lost government funding after inflating “hate crime” numbers to further their agenda.
According to Tell Mama, the number of letters reported is in the “double figures”, and Counter-Terrorism Policing North East are now leading a ‘Malicious Communications Inquiry’ and “will consider any potential links to existing inquiries”.
The story was picked up by The New York Times over the weekend and, on Monday morning, the BBC ran an extended segment on their leading current affairs programme the Victoria Derbyshire show.
Speculation over the letters was rife, with the New York Times even going so far as to suggest the date given for the suggested attacks — April 3rd 2018 — was a secret far-right code, claiming that the number 18 is a cypher for the name Adolf Hitler. This line of enquiry did not go so far as to recognise that 2018 is the current year, however.
Anti-Muslim letters: ‘There is some fear, but we see this for what it is – it’s a group of individuals trying to be malicious and we won’t fall into that trap.’ – @TellMamaUK pic.twitter.com/dYiEB1Mf09
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) March 12, 2018
Liberal Democrat Councillor Riaz Ahmed, of Bradford, was one of the first to receive the letter, to his business address in Leeds Road, Bradford, on Friday morning.
“It was not addressed to anyone, just the address and postcode as if it was sent out randomly. It has a second-class stamp on the plain white envelope and the frank mark is Sheffield. It was posted yesterday,” he told the Telegraph & Argus.
“It seems strange that anyone would send something like this to an address in a predominantly Muslim area. When I opened it and saw the content I was horrified.”
Labour MP Naz Shah, who has herself been accused of a “hate crime” targeting Jewish and Israeli people, said in the statement that the letters were “distressful not only those who have received the letter but also for the wider communities”.
She added: “I have spoken with The Chief Officer Lead for Counter Terrorism Policing North East, Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster, who has outlined that the investigation which has identified what appears to be a linked series of offences is being coordinated nationally by Counter Terrorism Policing North East.”
South Yorkshire Assistant Chief Constable Tim Forber said: “I can assure you that these documents are being taken extremely seriously and a thorough investigation into the circumstances is underway.
“I would like to reassure the people of South Yorkshire that public and community safety remains our utmost priority and as always, we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of everyone.”