CAIRO – A British Muslim family has faced a hate attack after a cross wrapped in ham was left on their doorstep in Bingham, Nottingham, as their neighbors expressed solidarity, rejecting the unexpected vicious attack.
"I'm disgusted and shocked,” a 39-year-old father was recently made redundant from his job as a collection agent for Royal Bank of Scotland, told Nottingham Post.
“My wife is in bits – she's very angry and in fear of her life. I don't want to leave my wife and kids here."
The attack occurred on Tuesday evening when the father discovered a cross wrapped in ham on his doorstep.
"There was a knock on the door and I went to open it. Nobody was there, but the cross was propped up against the door,” he said.
"It fell into the house when I opened the door. I noticed sliced ham was tied to it."
The family had lived in West Bridgford but the 31-year-old mum and two boys, aged eight and 10, moved to Bingham about three weeks ago after the parents separated.
The dad still lives in West Bridgford, but was in the house in Edinburgh Drive, Bingham, on Tuesday helping the family settle in.
Police are investigating the incident as they appealed for anyone who may have seen someone running away from the scene to contact them.
A spokeswoman said police were also still investigating two incidents in recent months where graffiti had been daubed on an Asian takeaway in Bingham.
Hostility against British Muslims, estimated at nearly 2.5 million, have been on the rise since 2005’s 7/7 attacks.
Police data shows that 1,200 anti-Muslim attacks were reported in Britain in 2010.
A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.
A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.
The attack was vehemently condemned by the family’s neighbors.
"It's awful,” Sarah Winter, 32, of nearby Hill Drive said.
“I see the lady walking her kids to school and, as a mum myself, I really feel for her. What a terrible thing to have happened.”
"I've lived here all my life and I've never heard of anything like this before."
Flora Smith, 71, also of Hill Drive, agreed.
"I'm shocked to hear that has happened,” Smith said.
“I wouldn't say people in this area are racist at all. Putting something like that outside someone's house is very upsetting and I'm very shocked about it."
A resident of Edinburgh Drive, who did not want to be named, added: "Straightaway you think 'that must mean something' for someone to have gone to the lengths of putting a cross with ham on it together."
Last month, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has vowed to put an end to religious hate crimes against Muslims.
He also announced an extra £214,000 funding for an initiative called Tell Mama (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) run by interfaith group Faith Matters.
The national organization will help to inform a cross-government working group set up to tackle the problem and follows work in the Jewish community, by the Community Security Trust, to record anti-Semitic attacks and shape action to prevent them.
Along with monitoring anti-Muslim incidents, which is also done by Islamophobia Watch, Engage and the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Faith Matters would also offer a personal service to victims.
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