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Islamophobic taunting reported outside the Muslim Prayer Centre

A group of young males shouted taunting comments about ISIS outside the on-campus Muslim Student Centre on Friday 20 November.

The incident came just one week after 130 people were killed in Paris in an attack claimed by the Islamic State.

The group reportedly stood outside the Muslim Student Centre, located in Falmer House, shouting “run, ISIS are coming”. They then popped a colourful party balloon and shouted “bomb”.

President of the Islamic Society Ridwan Barbhuiyan said the incident occurred during the Muslim students’ congregational prayer.

The perpetrators have been identified as participants in a scheme run by Albion in the Community, Brighton & Hove Albion’s charitable arm. According to Albion in the Community’s website, the organisation’s aim is to “make sport accessible to all, tackle inequality and provide opportunities”.

A spokesperson for Albion in the Community said it has suspended the six individuals involved from “participating with the community programme pending further investigation”.

The club identified the individuals using CCTV footage and a witness statement provided by the University.

Barbhuiyan, President of the Islamic Society, expressed hope that the perpetrators might agree to meet with him. He said that would give them an opportunity “to actually get to know each other, and to prevent anybody from passing premature/unqualified judgement on each other”.

He went on: “Hopefully, rather than a divisive community, we can instead build one united on mutual respect and understanding”.

Barbhuiyan posted a warning to Muslim students on the Islamic Society’s Facebook page, saying: “Given ongoing/recent events (the attacks in Paris, as well as all the other various terrorist activities carried out by people who seem to identify as Muslim) and how they are pretty much one of the main focuses of the public eye, it is sadly quite likely that there’ll be a rise in Islamophobic attacks/hate-crimes against Muslims, subhan Allah.

“Also, a gentle reminder that if you ever do go through any unpleasant experiences from others, react as a Muslim should – we are never meant to act upon anger, so don’t respond with insults, violence or anything that we’re guided not to do anyway. Instead, remember Allah, try to remain patient and calm, and let your good character be your response to them – maybe they will reflect upon it, maybe not, but you have done right, insha Allah”.

Miriam Steiner

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