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
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn