By Calum Henderson
Strathclyde University’s Muslim Students Association has received a death threat in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris this month.
SUMSA received threats which stated mosques would be ‘bombed’ and women would be ‘killed’ in an act of revenge for the atrocities in France.
The message was sent through a fake profile on social media just one day after the Paris attack, which left over 130 people dead.
Police Scotland subsequently announced that a 19-year-old had been arrested in relation to the incident.
President of SUMSA Rameez Mahmood said: “Ignorance breeds extremism and allowing it to exist is what allows Islamic hate groups to exist.”
“We cannot allow ourselves to get to a stage where women are too afraid to walk down the street with their headscarves in fear of being attacked.”
The association also released a statement saying “it is important to remember that the Muslims everywhere, including those in your everyday workplace and education institutions have nothing to do with these terrorist acts.”
Addressing the sender of the comments, the statement added: “We are sorry that you have received such a distorted image of our religion. We hope you have the opportunity to meet with genuine Muslims and can learn about the teachings of Islam. Despite the fear you have put us through we at SUSMA are always willing to welcome you with open arms.”
President of the Student’s Union Gary Paterson condemned the messages, saying “we will not accept vile abuse being hurled at our students, and we won’t stand by when racists attack.”
Police Scotland revealed that more than sixty hate crimes against Muslims had been reported in Scotland alone since the previous weekend.
The surge in anti-Muslim crimes includes the torching of Islamic community centres and physical attacks on the streets of Scottish communities. In mid-November, four people were arrested in connection with a gang attack on Mohammed Khalid, 53, who owns a takeaway in Fife. Scotland’s only Muslim minister Humza Yousaf MSP also announced he has also been the subject of online abuse and racist slurs.
At least two other Islamic societies in UK have also received abusive messages online in the wake of Paris.
The UK’s largest body for Muslim students, Federation of Student Islamic Societies said: “As a community, Muslim students face a level of hostility from their peers and wider society that is beyond what any other student group face.”
Yusuf Hassan, Vice President for Student Affairs at FOSIS, added: “It should not be forgotten that Islamic Societies are amongst the most active and diverse groups on campuses, engaging in a range of activities with the aim being to enrich the experiences of all students at university.”
On Saturday, the Islamic Human Rights Commission reissued safety advice for Muslim communities, urging them to report incidents of verbal and physical anti-Muslim harassment to the police.
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