ANXIETY, fear and anger rippled through Britain after three failed bomb attacks in London and Glasgow.
Government and religious leaders appealed for calm, but some Muslims braced for a backlash — while some non-Muslims looked for someone to blame.
The attacks sparked scattered incidents of racist abuse in London, with young white men targeting Muslim taxi drivers and others of South Asian appearance. Glasgow Central MP Mohammad Sarwar said some Muslims in Scotland had been threatened or targeted with abusive graffiti.
"I have spoken to a number of people from the Muslim community and the Asian community who feel very angry," he told BBC radio. He said Scottish Muslim leaders were meeting in Glasgow to discuss the attacks' impact on their community.
Muslim anger was directed at the terrorists — but also at a society some felt singles Muslims out for scrutiny whenever there is a terrorist attack.
"We are seething with anger about this," said Osama Saeed, Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain.
"As a community not only are we just as likely to be victims as anyone else, but we are also looked to in order to provide direction and in some respects take responsibility for this," he said.
On an official level, Government and Islamic groups say they have made great strides since July 7, 2005, when four British Muslims blew themselves up on the London transport system, killing 52 commuters, despite incidents of arson on mosques and attacks on women wearing headscarves. Many Muslims also feel they have borne the brunt of the Government's tough new anti-terror measures. The Government has made a point of reaching out to Muslim groups and consulting organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain, which represents more than 400 affiliated mosques and organisations.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also appointed Shahid Malik, an up-and-coming legislator from northern England, as the country's first Muslim government minister. [Link]
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