Members of Islamic prayer group As Salaam, based in Thurnby Lodge, continue to be persecuted for practicing their faith at Thurnby Lodge commmunity centre. This is despite the Leicester Mercury reporting that the issue had been resolved.
On the morning of 26th December, members of the As-Salaam Islamic group arrived at the centre to find a pigs head in front of the doors. Racists and Fascists around the country have used pigs heads to intimidate and insult Muslim communities.
This is part of a wider campaign orchestrated by local English Defence League and other far-right activists under the guise of the ‘Forgotten Estates’ group. This campaign is directed against Muslim group As Salaam who accepted an offer to use a derelict scout hut on Nursery Road. The fact that these protests have continued is proof that Forgotten Estates are primarily motivated by Islamaphobia and racism, as we reported back in October.
For the last 6 months, the Forgotten Estates group has organised demonstrations outside Thurnby Lodge Community Centre, where As Salaam meet to pray. Their demonstrations have intimidated not only Muslim worshippers but also men, women, children and elderly people attending the centre. The protesters have taken photographs of people attending the centre, blocked the entrance and shouted abuse at worshippers. People who have refused to sign their petition have been subjected to intimidation and even forced out of their homes in some cases.
Ordinary people are outraged at the continuous barrage of abuse and intimidation faced by members of As-Salaam on a daily basis. If this was happening to members of any other community in Leicester it would be exposed on the front page of the Leicester Mercury. Local MPs and councillors would be queuing up to condemn these racists who are making residents lives a misery.
The handful of protesters have tarnished Thurnby Lodge as a ‘racist estate’ – this is not true – most Thurnby Lodge residents are appalled by the behaviour of these racist bigots.
Enough is enough. Leicester has a proud tradition of opposing racism and Fascism. We cannot allow As Salaam to be scapegoated for lack of community facilities and the economic crisis. We call upon all anti-racists, trade unionists, community groups and people of faith to support As Salaam’s right to practice their religion without fear of intimidation in the community where they live.
What you can do:
- Send an email of support to As Salaam via our website.
- Contact Peter Soulsby, your local councillor or MP asking them to publicly condemn the Forgotten Estates group and the disgraceful attacks on As Salaam.
- Contact the Leicester Mercury and ask them why they have failed to report Forgotten Estates far-right involvement in their reports of this story.
- Raise the issue at your trade union branch, asking for messages of support and solidarity.