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Friday, 14 September, 2001, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Fear closes Islamic schools
clergy
Leading British Muslim Dr Zaki Badawi (2nd left) was among clergy who condemned the attacks
A number of Islamic schools in Britain are shut because of fears about a possible anti-Muslim backlash following the attacks in America.


It's not clear who has carried out this terrible thing but we all, as a community, condemn it with every atom of our being

Head teacher Abdullah Trevathan
Islamia Primary in Brent, north-west London, took the decision on Tuesday not to re-open for the rest of the week.

The head teacher, Abdullah Trevathan, stressed it had not been done in response to any particular abuse - although the school has now received "threatening" phone calls.

The decision to close had been a precautionary move, in view of the fact there had been some incidents during the Gulf War a decade ago.

Speaking for all the staff, Mr Trevathan said: "It's not clear who has carried out this terrible thing but we all, as a community, condemn it with every atom of our being."

Family connection

Mr Trevathan is originally from Manhattan and has relatives who work near to the World Trade Center. They are safe.

He said the school - and the associated girls' secondary school on the same site - might re-open on Monday but they were keeping events under review.

In any case he doubted many of the parents of the 365 pupils in the two schools would want to send their children in.

"A lot of families are battening down the hatches and staying at home," he said.

Revenge threats

The Metropolitan Police has confirmed it was contacted after phone calls to the school.


We as Muslims do not believe in violence of any sort

E-mail to BBC News Online
A spokeswoman said: "There was no crime report made on the calls, the school did it simply to notify us.

"However, we can confirm that the calls included threats of revenge."

The Association of Muslim Schools said that Brondesbury College for Boys, also in north London, had been closed in response to harassment fears.

'Living in fear'

Britain's leading Islamic newspaper, The Muslim News, says it has been "inundated" with phone calls and e-mails from Muslims who have received anonymous, threatening and abusive calls and e-mails.

Some had been harassed in the streets, it said - mainly women wearing the hijab headscarf.

People have also been e-mailing BBC News Online with their thoughts.

Offering condolences to the victims of the atrocities in America, Irrum Ijaz wrote: "We are currently living in fear, because Islam is under attack due to the actions of a fanatical minority group.

"This may lead to all Muslims being judged by the actions of this group, which is completly wrong.

"We as Muslims do not believe in violence of any sort."

'We are all horrified'

S Shakir wrote: "We (the Muslim community) all condemn these terrorist attacks as much as anyone else.

"No Muslim I know is celebrating on the streets. In fact we are all horrified .... Please do not forget that there were Arabs and Muslims among the dead in these horrific attacks as well.

"Islam does not allow such acts AT ALL. The terrorists involved are NOT following Islamic teachings."

And Salman Khatib wrote: "I came home from work today and every paper has the same headline and contents.

"I was in a group of work friends of three white and myself and a Muslim friend who has a beard. I don't have a beard but sat next to him.

"People stared at us and kept looking at the paper then at us. It was unnerving and we felt blamed.

"Please don't do this."

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See also:

14 Sep 01 | Americas
Islam: Faith under fire
07 Oct 00 | Education
Go-ahead for Muslim girls' school
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