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Wednesday, 19 September, 2001, 23:00 GMT 00:00 UK
Scottish Muslims describe fears
Muslim girls
There are fears for the safety of Muslim women
The leaders of Scotland's Muslim community have been meeting to assess the extent of racist threats and attacks suffered since terrorists struck at the heart of the US.

Around the world many followers of Islam have reported heightened hostility since hijacked airliners were flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The American authorities have named Osama Bin Laden, who is a Muslim, as their prime suspect and that has triggered a backlash against followers of Islamic religions.

World leaders, including the US President George W Bush, have condemned violence against Muslims and have appealed for calm.

Haq Ghani
Haq Ghani says tensions have risen recently

However, Muslim leaders met in Glasgow on Wednesday evening to discuss the situation in Scotland where some abuse has been reported.

They also drew up an action plan to help change the attitudes of those who hold them responsible for the terrorism.

Haq Ghani, of the UK Islamic Mission, said: "In Glasgow particularly we are very, very worried indeed, especially about our children and our ladies.

"Our ladies are the most visible symbol of Muslims in our community and we already have had ladies getting scarves pulled off their heads, sworn at and racist, Islamic-phobic remarks being made."

In Glasgow's Pollokshields area, posters of Osama Bin Laden, taken from newspapers, are said to have been put up with the word "revenge" written on them.

A high concentration of Muslims live in that area and their leaders plan to lobby politicians, councillors and police to help them combat abuse.

Sikh man
Sikhs are planning a march in Glasgow

Dr Muhammad Shafi Kauser, of the Glasgow Central Mosque, said some Scottish Muslims had had stones thrown at them in the past week.

He said: "Other people who have bad designs can take an opportunity, and they are taking an opportunity.

"They are throwing stones, they are cursing and abusing our children and we are getting into a scary situation."

Sikhs too are fearful - after reports that they were being mistaken for Muslims.

Members of the Sikh community will march to Glasgow's George Square on Thursday evening to remember those who died, but also to spell out to the public that they had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks in the US.

Haq Ghani of the UK Islamic Mission
"We are fearful of what is going to happen in Glasgow, the friendly city"
See also:

19 Sep 01 | Scotland
Teacher helps trauma-hit pupils
19 Sep 01 | UK Politics
UK targets terrorist finances
19 Sep 01 | UK Politics
Blair begins anti-terror talks
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