A far right British political group published posters warning against Muslim gang rape throughout Worcester, England, prompting condemnation from Muslims and allegations of hate crimes.
The British Renaissance Policy Institute (BRPI), self affiliated with the U.S. alt-right, claimed responsibility for the posters that U.K. police are investigating as a hate crime, according to Worcester News. The Worcester Muslim Welfare Association (WMWA) denounced the posters, which sported Arabic text that said “Protect Children … Fight Grooming Gangs.”
Jack Sen, BRPI’s founder, confirmed that BRPI was responsible and said he was proud of the Worcester members of the group for their efforts.
“I am pleased my men have taken the initiative to do something on their own,” Sen told Worcester News. “The British Renaissance Worcester branch are the ones putting up the signs in Worcester. We have 25 members in Worcester. We had a meeting in Worcester two-and-a-half months ago and encouraged them to protest peacefully and legally.”
“We gave them different ideas. We don’t want them to go into the streets … and behave like a terrorist organization and cause trouble. We have to do it in an aggressive but legal manner. Those (posters) I’m assuming are the leftovers from the British National Party (BNP),” he added.
Mohammed Iqbal, general secretary of the WMWA, said the posters were merely tools of division that served no positive purpose.
“The aim of these posters and using symbols associated with our religion is pure mischievousness and nothing more than to create division between our peace loving community of Worcester,” Iqbal said.
The posters, spread through Worcester over the last two weeks, came in the wake of the arrests of 18 members of a grooming gang in Newcastle. A three year police investigation of the gang, comprised mainly of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims, revealed the members had sexually exploited over 700 women and girls.
U.K. Muslims fear that far right groups like BRPI will use the Newcastle example to fuel anti-Islamic campaigns, but some British politicians say that the prominence of Muslim perpetration of sexually exploitative crime in the U.K. cannot be ignored, according to The Independent.
“No one wants to demonize a particular community but the fact that this is happening again and again in the same circumstances and communities is a fact we cannot ignore,” Greg Stone, a city councilor in the Liberal Democrats party, told The Independent.
“I don’t think we can eliminate the scale of abuse, which has national implications, unless we ask some tough questions of the Pakistani and Bangladeshi community in particular,” he added.
Police removed the Worcester posters after a citizen filed a complaint about one of them on Aug 26.
“Officers attended and removed the poster and are currently treating the incident as a hate crime,” said Worcester Safer Neighbourhood Team Inspector Tanya Beckett.
“I would like to remind people that any activities designed to incite hate within the communities we serve will not be tolerated by West Mercia Police and will be thoroughly investigated,” Beckett added.
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