Norwich Muslim community feels well supported - despite recent hate crimes

Sirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre where fire damag

Sirajul Islam, secretary at the Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Members of a Norwich mosque say they feel "very supported" by the wider community - despite a recent spate of racist incidents in the city.

The comments come after an increase in tensions between Israel and Palestine last month, which according to anti-racism charities helped fuel an increase in religious hate crime.

On May 14, members of the Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue on Essex Street arrived to find a swastika daubed on its door.

Graffiti daubed on the side of the Essex Street synagogue. Some content has been censored. 

Graffiti daubed on the side of the Essex Street synagogue. Some content has been censored. - Credit: Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue


On May 15, Islamophobic graffiti was sprayed in yellow paint on the pavement close to Norwich Central Mosque and Islamic Community Centre on Aylsham Road.

However 52-year-old Sirajul Islam, the mosque's secretary, said his community feels "separated" from events abroad - and that he'd like to think people in Norwich are able to make the same distinction. 

He said: "It's difficult to comment on how much what happens elsewhere affects what people think here.

"Twice in the last two months we've had incidents of racist graffiti at the Mosque, and the year before we had an arson attack.

"But those responsible make up a very small minority of ignorant people.

"Muslims here have nothing to do with what's happened or happening in the Middle East. We feel separated from that.


You may also want to watch:


"This is our home, and we have a great relationship with our neighbours."

Rabbi Binyamin Sheldrake outside the synagogue on Essex Street in Norwich

Rabbi Binyamin Sheldrake outside the synagogue on Essex Street in Norwich. His message for those responsible for the graffiti was: "We will pray for you and hope that you see the error of your ways and apologise" - Credit: David Hannant

Tell MAMA - an Islamophobic monitoring group - recorded 56 anti-Muslim incidents between May 8 and May 17 nationally, while the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism, recorded 116 incidents between May 8 and May 19 - compared respectively to 13 and 19 the week before.

Most Read

Mr Islam said: "The problem is that people are getting so much information through social media about what's happening in the world, and they react to it at home.

"But generally, we've seen an outpouring of support recently. We've been out protesting against the regime in Israel with people from all walks of life.

"There are still Islamophobic incidents, and each one is one too many, but on the whole I'd say our community feels very welcome."

Norwich Central Mosque trustee and Costessey town councillor Iftekhar Alam, 45,  said: "There will always be some people who refuse to be educated.

"At our old mosque on Rose Lane we used to get people breaking windows and throwing stones at us.

"Those things do make us worried, but ultimately people are very friendly here."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus