In the last few weeks, Muslim communities in at least six different cities within the United Kingdom received a letter about “Punish A Muslim Day.” In the letter, the unknown author proclaimed April 3 as the day to harm Muslims.
“They have hurt you, they have made your loved ones suffer. They have caused you pain and heartache,” the letter reads. “Are you a ‘sheep’ like the vast majority of the population? Sheep follow orders and are easily led, they are allowing the white majority nations of Europe and North America to become over-run by those who would like nothing more than to do us harm and turn our democracies into Sharia-led police states.”
On “Punish A Muslim Day,” the author encouraged people to hurt Muslims. Participants would receive “points” based on their actions. Pulling the head-scarf off a Muslim woman would be 25 points, while throwing acid in their face would be 50 points.
Torturing a Muslim using electrocution, skinning or use of a rack would garner 250 points, while butchering a Muslim using a gun or knife would net 500 points.
Finally, burning or bombing a mosque is worth 1,000 points, and “nuking” Mecca would be 2,500 points.
As the day approached, Muslim community leaders in Brooklyn met with elected officials on Monday to discuss how to handle the situation. At the Pakistani American Youth Society in Ditmas Park, faith leaders expressed solidarity against the hateful letter.
“This might be an incident against the Muslim community, but we’re standing next to our Jewish and Christian communities,” said Lieutenant Adeel Rama, president of the NYPD Muslim Officers Society. “We are united, we are brothers and sisters. We’re standing with one another.”
“All faiths came today as a united front against hate,” added Mark Appel from the Bridge Multicultural and Advocacy Project. “This vile, disgusting attack on the Muslim people, it’s something every people, every religion must stand against.”
To ensure Muslim communities across the borough were safe, members of the Muslim Officers Society, joined by Borough President Eric Adams, visited mosques, community organizations, Muslim schools and businesses to check in on them.
“Small steps, but these steps are needed,” Rama said. “We will be proactively leading these initiatives.”
Dr. Debbie Almontaser, a community activist, said she received messages from community members asking what they should do on April 3. Parents worried if they should send their children to school, or even leave their homes at all.
Almontaser, along with other leaders, encouraged everyone to go about their day normally, but to take precautions.
“I refuse to live in fear and so should you,” she said. “Fear is a choice. If we live in fear, we let ourselves down. I want to show the world we are better than that.”
She encouraged all allies to wear hijabs and kufis, which she gave out at Newkirk Plaza, to show solidarity.
“Live your life like you do everyday, but be vigilant,” Almontaser said.
Kenneth Harrison, a corrections officer with the Muslim Employees City Corrections Association (MECCA), encouraged everyone to be aware of their surroundings, pay attention and to help their fellow human beings.
“When you’re walking, be mindful of what’s going on around you,” he said. “Look around, keep your head on a swivel.”
Harrison, who brought his two young sons with him to the announcement at Ditmas Park, said he blamed ignorance for the letter.
“Unfortunately, people are ignorant, and they want to buy into it,” he said. “And you shouldn’t buy into ignorance.”
Adams said he was horrified by the letter.
“Some look at this as a hoax, we do not see it as being a hoax, hat’s a premeditated action,” he said. “The goal is to create terror, not only individuals inside the UK but right here in America.”
The borough president said they will do their best to keep communities safe amid the threats against Muslims.
“That is not going to happen in the borough of Brooklyn,” he said. “We don’t want to see it happen in the country of America.”