An Islamic school in Newcastle became a victim of an Anti-Islamic attack, causing great concern over the increase in hate-crime in the North East. On 26th January 2019, BBC reported on the atrocities of vandalism that took place at an Islamic school, called the Bahr Academy, situated on the Tyneside in Newcastle. The incident was believed to have taken place overnight, when the thugs damaged all the interiors in the school, making offensive graffiti on the walls.
The school was found the following morning in a ruinous state of broken items, upturned furniture, smashed windows and scattered copies of the Koran lying on the floor. This school building was formerly known to be the set of a TV show called, “Byker Grove”, which was aired from 1989 to 2006 on CBBC and BBC One. The cast and the crew members, who were involved in the show, have extended their help by raising funds to repair the damages caused by the vandals.
The vandalism included the words 'Moslem terrorists' as well as a Swastika scrawled in red paint along the walls. Incidents like this are unfortunately becoming more common place in the UK and reports of hate crime have increased at both the local and national level.
This episode of hatred was not the first for the school as similar incidents had taken place many times before. This most recent case of depredation left the staff members of the school feeling threatened. Muhammed Abdulmuheet, the principle of the school, expressed his fear of being attacked again. In his statement to BBC, directing towards the vandals, he said, “We want to speak to you, so you can find out what we are about and teach you what Islam actually says, so you have a correct understanding of what we are trying to do in these places.”
He also highlighted the need for proper security arrangements in the school. The leader of the Newcastle City Council, Nick Forbes, expressed his disapprobation by condemning this act of racism and ‘hate’ crime. He posted on Twitter, “I’m outraged to hear about the racist vandalism and graffiti at the Bahr Academy. Police are investigating and I hope the scum who did this are found and prosecuted. We must come together as a city to condemn such appalling racist hate crimes.”
The Northumbria Police is taking this incident very seriously. Sergeant Adrian Oakes, part of the Central Engagement Team, told the Chronicle Live that, “This type of mindless vandalism and blatant racism has no place in society and will be dealt with robustly by police”. He further added, “We would encourage any victims of hate crime to get in touch with police on 101 or through one of the many third-party reporting systems available online”.
Newcastle has the reputation of being a safe and an unprejudiced city, having significant international inhabitants. This incident of intolerance has caused alarm to the people and the officials. Councillor Habib Rahman, cabinet member for communities and chair of Safe Newcastle, on this issue, told the Chronicle Live that, “Newcastle prides itself on being a tolerant and welcoming city where everyone can feel safe, so this criminal act offends us all. I have spoken to the head teacher and offered him the city council’s fullest support”.
The Gofundme that has been set up by cast and crew of Byker Grove and has already surpassed its £3000 target which will go towards helping to repair damage created by the vandals and also importantly showed the support that the Muslim community of Newcastle recieved from other residents.