JNN 01 Jan 2015 Stockholm : Swedish police were hunting Thursday for at least one suspect following what is believed to be the third arson attack on a mosque in a week.
“Someone threw a firebomb, a Molotov cocktail at the building,” Torsten Hemlin a spokesman for Uppsala police told Swedish news agency, adding that the bomb did not set the mosque in eastern Sweden alight.
“They also wrote some vulgar racist words,” he said, adding that no one was in the building at the time of the attack.
Police in Sweden’s fourth largest city Uppsala were alerted by passers-by who reportedly saw a man throw a burning object at the mosque at around 0430 GMT.
“The crime has been classed as attempted arson, vandalism and incitement to hatred,” the police said in a statement appealing for eyewitnesses to come forward.
Thursday’s attack came just three days after a late night blaze at a mosque in Esloev in southern Sweden which police suspect was also arson.
On Christmas Day five people were injured when a petrol bomb was thrown through the window of a mosque in Eskilstuna, east of the capital Stockholm.
The country’s leftist Prime Minister Stefan Loefven called the Christmas attack a spurt of “hateful violence” and said Sweden would “never tolerate this kind of crime”.
According to the anti-racism magazine Expo, there have been more than a dozen attacks on mosques in Sweden in the last year.
The attacks come as debate intensifies in the country over immigration and the integration of asylum seekers in the traditionally tolerant Nordic country.
Last month the far right Sweden Democrats — which doubled its support to 13 percent in September elections — came close to bringing down the left-green government over its liberal refugee policies, further boosting its support in opinion polls.
Islamic Center Vandalized in California , USA
A man was arrested for vandalizing an Islamic center in the US state of California, authorities say.
On Saturday, Police Chief Jerry Dyer said the perpetrator, identified as 28-year-old Asif Mohammad Khan, caused more than $10,000 in damage at the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno (ICCF).
Khan broke a number of windows, bleached an American flag, and vandalized a nearby medical office among other things, said the police chief.
Police suspects the case might be a hate crime as a mosque has been targeted, Dyer noted.
Samia Khan, the suspect’s sister, said his brother was suffering from a mental illness and therefore not guilty.
Fresno police investigators will notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) whether the move was a hate crime after they interrogate the suspect, Dyer said.
Khan’s family has apologized for desecration of the mosque, Samia said adding the family was part of the city’s Muslim community.
Hate Crimes Against Muslims on the Rise in UK
The number of Muslim women reporting hate crime has risen by up to 10%, according to a UK charity.
TELL MAMA, a national project measuring anti-Muslim incidents, has told Sky News that over the last 18 months they have seen a 5-10% increase.
Fiyaz Mughal, director of TELL MAMA, says over the last two years our data has shown that women suffer more incidents of hate and they also suffer more aggressive incidents of hate.
Research has shown that Muslim women are subjected to “opportunistic” verbal or physical attacks, mostly by men, on the street.
Yasmeen Khalid, 21, from Bromsgrove, says she has always faced abuse, but the problem has become worse in recent months.
She says out of 30 different hate crime incidents, she has only ever reported two, and admits wearing a hijab has made her a target.
“By looking, they instantly know I’m Muslim… sometimes people call me a terrorist, sometimes they say ‘Paki’, sometimes someone has called me ‘Taliban’ or stuff like that,” she said.
“Sometimes I walk off humiliated – I shouldn’t be humiliated but I am humiliated.
“Sometimes I speak up, sometimes I just cry, go away somewhere, and cry because I don’t know what to do.”
Fiyaz Mughal, from the TELL MAMA campaign, says there’s “been an enormous shift in the language of anti-Muslim hate. International and national incidents create differences in the way narratives are set.”
Shalina Litt, from Birmingham, has been the victim of racist abuse on the street while wearing the hijab.
“Actually we are mothers, we are daughters, we are sisters,” she said.
“I really just hope that any mothers, any daughters etc., can speak to their sons and say actually it’s not right and we do need to change how we approach this.”
The TELL MAMA project highlights there is still “substantial under reporting” by the Muslim community about hate crime.
Part of their approach involves working with different agencies through community outreach and education.