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In Brexit-Era London, a Mosque Sits Between Two Types of Hate

Slurs and spitting

Sixteen days after the London Bridge attack, a man driving a van plowed over Muslims leaving a mosque in North London. One person died and nine others were injured.

“I want to kill all Muslims,” the van driver had shouted.

During the same period, half a dozen women in head scarves told Mr. Siddique they had been spit upon on the street. Vandals scrawled slurs on houses and cars, and a wave of anonymous threats arrived at the mosque.

“We had ladies who were called ‘terrorists’ or ‘Paki,’ or told to go home,” Mr. Siddique said. “It has become something that, as a Muslim, you just have to accept.”

He complained that the local police waited eight days to show up. “I had to call our member of Parliament to get them here,” he said. “I had to hire a private security firm to protect the mosque at night during Ramadan.”

Today, some at Al Madina dismiss the surge in hostility as an anomaly. “People hear things about Muslims in the media and say, ‘Let’s kill Muslims,’ ” said Khalid Salem, 36, an Uber driver who was born in Egypt. “But London is different than any other place. We feel like our roots are here. We feel proud of London.”

Yet after a terrorist attack in August in Barcelona, Spain, Mr. Siddique took his own precautions. He stationed nine young men in high-visibility vests in the streets at night. The mosque has started formal security training for volunteers.

Still, Mr. Siddique said, he was born in Barking and he is not going anywhere. “Do I feel scared walking down the street? No, London is my home.”

Source: NYT > World

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