Muslims told not to travel as retaliation fears grow

"Everyone is subdued and people are wondering what has happened," he said, surveying his depleted customer base. "People are asking how will it affect us, are we going to be treated in a nice way after this? We have nothing to do with this."

The explosions prompted the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) to issue the extraordinary advice yesterday that no Muslim should travel or go out unless strictly necessary, for fear of reprisals. The Muslim Association of Britain said women in headscarves were at particular risk, asked police to consider extra protection for mosques and Islamic schools, and also warned Muslims against unnecessary journeys.

"It is scary. A tiny element of the community will make use of this," said the Muslim Association's president Ahmed Sheikh. "In the event of being attacked, [do] not to retaliate and report the matter to the police and authorities," said the IHRC.

The first hint of the aggression both groups feared came in a threatening e-mail about the explosions to Ahmed Versi, editor of Muslim News. "Visible aspects of Islam, such as mosques, community centres and women with headscarves" may be attacked, he said.

Dr Mohammed Naseem, chairman of the Birmingham central mosque, questioned the IHRC's advice and said it was "a bit over the top". But the anxieties voiced by most Muslim groups provided a depressing reminder of how individuals of non-British extraction have found themselves blamed for events such as the 11 September terrorist attacks and the Madrid train bombings last year.

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Brian Paddick disassociated Islam and terrorism. "The words Islam and terrorist do not go together," he said. "These acts go totally against what I understand is the Muslim faith."

Muslim groups also issued swift condemnations of the attacks. The Muslim Council of Britain said it "utterly condemns the perpetrators of what appears to be a series of co-ordinated attacks". It added: "These evil deeds makes victims of us all. The evil people who planned and carried out these series of explosions in London want to demoralise us as a nation and divide us as a people. All of us must unite in helping the police to capture these murderers."

The churches also came to the help of community relations. On a visit to Yorkshire, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams stressed that he had spent the morning with Muslims. "We are all as one in our condemnation of this evil and in our shared sense of compassion."

The Hindu Forum of Britain also appealed to faith communities to not allow themselves to be divided. Secretary general Ramesh Kallidai said one of the most "shameful fall-outs of terrorism" was that it "aims to divide communities by creating fear and suspicion". He added: "Britain is a good example of a multicultural society where all faith communities live together peacefully. It is now more important than ever to ensure we do not succumb to terrorism by allowing ourselves to be divided."

The Bishop of Stepney, who made a joint appearance with the chairman of the East London mosque spoke together outside the Royal London Hospital, warned that "speculation without knowledge" (as to the perpetrators) was "a very dangerous thing" and added: "We do not want people to divide communities because they are either angry or afraid. We are all caught up in this together irrespective of our religions." The Bishop of London also condemned the "indiscriminate slaughter of Londoners, Christians and Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, all without distinction."

The IHRC's fears of reprisals against Muslims are borne of an intimate knowledge of how life for many British Muslims was changed after 11 September, 2001. In just the first four months after the terrorist hijackings in the US, the organisation logged details of more than 400 attacks on Muslims in Britain - four times the number it had received in an entire year since it was established in 1998.

Despite yesterday's warning, Karim Mohammed ventured out across London from his restaurant. "I will not become a prisoner in my own home," he said. "That kind of advice is frightening people who have to go to work. We have to believe that the Government will protect us."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas