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Darnall mosque attacked in suspected hate crime

Jamia Abdullah Bin Masood mosque in Darnall – a community hub, food bank and safe place – has been attacked by vandals.

Screenshot 2023 01 10 at 14 54 29

Mohammed Shafiq, co-founder of the mosque, speaks to reporters

YouTube screenshot/Everybody's Talking About Sheffield

The Jamia Abdullah Bin Masood mosque in Darnall, Sheffield, has been attacked in an apparent hate crime. On January 2, local community members found the mosque damaged with Qurans thrown on the floor, the kitchen and toilets had units ripped out, and various technological devices had been stolen.

Co-founder of the mosque Mohammed Shafiq said:

I think it’s a hate crime. The main concern with this one is the mess they caused. They threw our holy books on the floor and it’s been walked on top of… We are not safe at all. Now whenever someone knocks on the door, it could be anyone with any intentions.

The mosque also functions as a food bank and community hub, with Shafiq adding:

We don’t see ourselves as just a mosque. We do a food bank as well and we offer food and we cook for people… it’s more like a community centre, everyone is welcome to come in.

Media platform the Islam Channel expressed their shock:

BBC Radio Sheffield spoke of the community rallying around the mosque:

Baillor Jalloh, a VJ at Sheffield Live pointed out that the attack starkly contrasted with Sheffield’s history as a city of sanctuary:

Sheffield Green Party also condemned the vandalism:

Rising hate crime

A study from the Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) group in 2022 found that around half of mosques in the UK had been attacked in the last three years. The regional manager of MEND, Nayeen Haque, said:

We believe the Islamophobic narrative being peddled in wider society is to blame for the rise in attacks we've seen in the Muslim community.

Data aggregator Statista have found that the number of recorded hate crimes against Muslims in England and Wales have risen in recent years:

Statistic: Number of police recorded hate crime offences committed against Muslims in England and Wales 2017-2022 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

That said, it’s important to understand that statistics are only one part of the picture here. It’s reasonable to assume that many Islamophobic hate crimes will never be reported to the police. The reality of Muslims in Britain is that this is a racist and Islamophobic country. Statistics also don’t include how violent and terrifying these attacks are.

The mosque in Darnall evidently functions as a community resource that brings people together in a place of safety. Throwing holy books onto the floor and trampling over them is heinous. Targeting a mosque and ripping out facilities that serve the community is sickening behaviour. Statistics simply do not reflect the emotions that such attacks bring forward for Muslims.

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