I was disgusted to hear about letters circulating encouraging people to “punish a Muslim” on 3 April. I utterly condemn this attempt to whip up hatred. I stand in solidarity with my Muslim constituents, who are valued members of our community.
If you receive such a letter, call the police immediately on 101 and try not to touch the letter or the envelope, as counter terrorist police need to examine it for forensic evidence.
I was glad my colleague Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East, put an Urgent Question to the Minister in Parliament today. I asked the Minister what the government will do to protect Muslims wherever they are in the constituency, not just at mosques (see below).
I am proud of the mosques in Bristol West and am keen to build on the strong relationships we have with them. To show these extremists that they cannot win, I will prioritise visits to mosques and other Muslim organisations on 3 April. Muslims are welcome in Bristol. In Bristol we love, not hate.
THANGAM: Thank you Mr Speaker.
I welcome the funding that the minister has promised for safeguarding mosques, but of course Muslims do not only gather at places of worship. So what reassurances can she give to the many community groups, schools where children gather, other places which are maybe not specifically Muslim but there will be groups of Muslims, to give them some reassurance that they will have funding for extra security, should that be needed, in Bristol West?
MINISTER: I thank the Honourable Lady for her question. As I said, the government has not only pledged, or indeed spent, up to £2.4 million over four years, but we also have the funding of Tell Mama, which is a very important intelligence tool which tells the police where to focus resources. If there are particular areas in her constituency about which she has concerns, I would ask her please, make sure her Chief Constable knows and her Police and Crime Commissioner knows, because they must be the ones to make operational decisions.