Muslims in lesbian hate campaign

A council youth worker who specialises in helping young Asian women has been driven out of her home by Muslim extremists who accuse her of spreading "lesbian propaganda".

The woman is under police protection in a different city after receiving death threats and having anti-lesbian graffiti daubed on her car.

A group calling itself the Muslim Awareness Campaign has distributed hundreds of leaflets to mosques and shops around the woman's home in Bradford, revealing her name and home and work telephone numbers. Posters have been put up in the streets accusing her of "brainwashing our Muslim sisters with lesbian propaganda".

The case has alarmed the woman's union, Unison, which is concerned that it may be a part of a wider pattern of attacks on youth workers by religious extremists.

The woman, who is herself Muslim, was first targeted by the MAC in February, when demands were made for her to be sacked by Bradford Metropolitan District Council. When the demands were not met, the group began its campaign of leafleting and abusive telephone calls.

Friends of the woman are concerned that police are reluctant to take action for fear of sparking unrest in the local community. Manningham, the area of the city where the woman lives, was the scene of two days of rioting in 1995. A report into the disturbances, published last November criticised the heavy-handed actions of police officers for contributing to the violence.

Friends say that the police have been given a series of telephone numbers used to make abusive calls to the woman, obtained by dialling 1471. Police have also been told that the woman's tormentors took an advertisement on the BBC's Ceefax pages to highlight some of their views. Yet four months after the intimidation began, no arrests have been made.

Sgt Roy Wensley, community liaison officer for Bradford police's Toller Lane division, which covers the area, said last week that an active investigation was still under way. "We are treating this hate campaign very seriously and our investigations are continuing."

Meanwhile the woman and her female partner have moved to another Yorkshire city, where they are being protected by police. Colleagues and supporters have formed a lobby group, Challenge Homophobic Injustice Now, to fight back against the MAC. A spokeswoman said: "The so-called MAC have condemned this worker because of her sexuality ... in order to sensationalise and attack the empowering work that is being done with young Asian women, both lesbian and heterosexual, throughout the city of Bradford."

Although the woman has been placed on special leave because of the intimidation, Bradford council has pledged to fight the MAC's attempts to put her out of a job. Bridget Maguire, chair of Bradford's Services to Young People Sub-Committee, said: "The council will not be intimidated by extremist groups into offering less of a service to some young people in their communities, and will continue to explore issues of sexuality with groups of young people when requested."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada