Acid attacks have emerged as a new weapon in communal violence in Britain and the Muslim population, specially Bangladeshi communities living in Britain, have become the primary targets of this aggression.
Frequent acid attacks on Bangladeshi communities have been spreading fear and anxiety among the Bangladeshis living across the Britain. Parents can no longer breathe a sigh of relief until their children return to the safety of their homes.
At least eight acid attacks have been launched in last month and a half in different Bangali-inhabited areas of East London. The latest acid attack was on two Bangladeshi youths at Tower Hamlets on July 25 this year.
The hate crimes on the Muslim community in Britain have increased manifold in recent times, after the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. Muslim women have been facing physical assault because of their attire.
Bangladeshi community activists in London have organised a meeting to discuss and protest the series of acid attacks. The meeting was chaired by Councilor Maiyum Mia.
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Maaj Selim, a renowned face in Britain’s anti-racism movement whose father was killed by the white supremacists in Birmingham last year, said: “What is going on in Britain right now is not acid attacks, it is racially-motivated acid terrorism.”
KM Abu Tahir Chowdhury, a senior leader of the Bangladeshi community in Britain, said that more than 400 acid attacks have been recorded in London and Wales by London metropolitan police in the last six months.
“Most acid attacks have been taking place in the Newham, Barking and Tower Hamlets areas, where a large number of Bangladeshi people live,” Tahir added.
Asked about the reason behind such frequent attacks, Tahir replied: “The current government of Britain has reduced the number of police officers in the name of budget cuts, which is a vital reason behind the increased number of crimes.”
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“During the tenure of former Mayor Lutfur Rahman, 41 policemen were recruited in Tower Hamlets with the council fund, but the number has been reduced to six in recent times.”
“It is quite difficult to maintain law and order in such a big area with such a small number of policemen,” he added.
Former councilor and leader of ruling Conservative Party Dr Anwara Ali said the government has to undertake three initiatives to prevent acid terrorism.
Firstly, the availability and sale of corrosive substances must be controlled. Secondly, strict punishment should imposed on perpetrators and thirdly, awareness campaigns need to be arranged across the country.
President of the UK-Bangla Press Club Reza Ahmed Faisal Chowdhury Shoaib said: “In 2014, some 200 acid attacks took place in London while the number increased to 431 in 2015.”
“According to the statistics, it can be derived that an acid attack has been taking place every 20 hours.”
Experts opine that the rise of extreme nationalism in the changed world order is one of the primary reasons behind the persecution of migrant communities taking place in many parts of the world. As more and more Muslims become the victims of hatred in the streets and underground stations in London, a metaphorical wall is being built between native Britons and migrant communities that undermines tolerance and leads to more enmity.
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The story was originally published in Bangla Tribune