Following reports of an increased number of racist incidents across the UK in the wake of last week’s referendum result, students at the University of Leicester have reported disgraceful anti-Muslim graffiti.
The Atheist, Humanist, and Secular (ASH) Society at the university posted a picture of a banner promoting an Eid festival which had been painted several times with the words “Fuck Islam”.
The word ‘Eid’ had also been crossed out and a swastika had been painted over the word ‘prayer’.
A second poster in Leicester’s Victoria Park, which borders the university campus, was defaced with the words “Lies” and “Hate”.
This vile graffiti will leave the university’s Muslim students feeling frightened and unwelcome and has no place anywhere in British society.
It should be condemned in the strongest possible terms, with the university beginning an immediate investigation to uncover the culprits – who if students must face the most severe sanctions.
Unfortunately, this incident is only the most recent example of anti-Muslim hatred on a UK campus, with racist graffiti at Durham University last month referring to a “Muslim monkey”.
Meanwhile, in March two men were arrested after they pulled off a Muslim student’s niqab outside the Strand campus of King’s College London (KCL).
Targeting women handing out Islamic literature as part of the KCL Islamic Society’s (ISOC) ‘Discover Islam Week’, the men allegedly threw leaflets from the stall on the floor and hurled racially abusive and threatening language towards the students.
This wasn’t the first act of anti-Muslim hatred recorded at KCL either, with Student Rights reporting on the defacing of a sign for a Muslim prayer room in March 2014.
During January 2015, anti-Muslim graffiti was found at the University of Birmingham which read: “Kill Islam before it kills you”.
The discovery of this graffiti was the second such incident that month, with “Islam must die” and a swastika painted on the walls of an accommodation building at the university a week earlier.
That month also saw comments posted on the Facebook page of London South Bank University (LSBU) Islamic Society, with an individual saying “Islam is a cancer” and that “LSBU fcking [sic] sucks because of its Islamists” and “ISLAM should be exterminated out of this world”.
As with the events at Durham University, it is unclear whether or not the graffiti at the University of Durham was a coordinated attack by an organised far-right group or simply local vandals.
Regardless, it should be reported to both the local council and police force.
Here at Student Rights we would urge students at the University of Leicester to report any further incidents and hope the university will review its security in light of these incidents.
No student should feel marginalised or isolated while studying, and universities must remain vigilant in the face of anti-Muslim hatred on their campuses.