Four British Muslim MPs sent suspicious packages in past 24 hours

#Islamophobia

Rupa Huq, Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton, said she was latest target

The Big Ben clock face at the Houses of Parliament in central London (AFP)
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Last update: 
Thursday 15 March 2018 14:15 UTC
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Four Muslim Labour MPs have been sent suspicious packages over the past 24 hours and received copies of a “Punish a Muslim” letter that advocates violence against Muslims.

Rupa Huq, Labour MP for Ealing Central and Acton, said on Tuesday she was the latest target, while another package was said to have been sent to Manchester Gorton MP Afzal Khan. 

Packages were sent to Mohammad Yasin, Labour MP for Bedford, and Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali on Monday.

A member of Huq’s staff has been taken to hospital as a precaution after opening the letter, which the MP told the Guardian contained a “sticky substance” that the police had described as “low-level noxious”.

Two packages were sent to the same building in Parliament on Monday afternoon. Two members of Yasin’s team were taken to hospital after opening a package containing a suspicious liquid.

Police are inspecting the “Punish a Muslim” letter, which has been sent to people at various cities across the country, and details a list of violent acts alongside numbers of points for performing them.

Tell Mama UK, which monitors anti-Muslim hate crimes, said it had received reports of people in Bradford, Leicester, London, Cardiff and Sheffield receiving the letters.

Huq said she had been assured that the substance was not harmful, but told the BBC that the parcels were now “part of a pattern”.

“It is horrible though, it’s really very frightening,” she told the Guardian.

“It is to put the frighteners on us but we won’t be cowed. I’m sure I won’t be the last and I’m sure this is part of a pattern of targeting Muslim MPs. Among my colleagues, people have shown support but they are outraged.”

Both of the packages delivered on Monday afternoon were found to be non-harmful.

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The letters were found in the Norman Shaw North building in Westminster, which houses MPs’ offices and is linked by a walkway to Portcullis House.

A parliamentary spokesman confirmed four packages had been sent to the building in recent days and said police were investigating the latest package.

“This is further to the two items investigated yesterday, both of which were found to be non-harmful,” the spokesman said.

“The police are investigating the content of the letters to identify any potential link.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Police were called at 9.49am on Tuesday 13 March to reports of a suspicious package at Norman Shaw Buildings, Victoria Embankment, Westminster. Specialist officers have been called and the package will be assessed.”

The spokesman said there were no reported injuries and inquiries were continuing.

Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: “I am absolutely appalled and horrified to hear reports that a number of my Labour colleagues are receiving ‘Punish a Muslim’ letters, hate mail and suspicious packages. As chair of the race all-party parliamentary group I stand in solidarity with them and their hard-working staff.”