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Thursday, 24 March 2011

Staffordhire Town’s War Memorial Defaced with Islamic Graffiti – Again

Town’s War Memorial Defaced with Islamic Graffiti – Again

By Stephen Palmer – A Staffordshire war memorial has become the second in its town to be sprayed with Islamic graffiti in just over a year, but local representatives are still more concerned about how the crimes will affect the “Muslim community”.
The memorial in Stretton, in Burton upon Trent, was daubed with “Support Taliban”, while a nearby bus shelter and building were spray-painted with the words “Jihad 4 Iraq”.
The attack on the Stretton memorial was made all the more painful, as it came less than six months after the monument was finally erected following a twenty-year battle by local residents.
Rather than simply decrying the crimes, vicar of Stretton Rev Kim Thomas, said: “I’m concerned that the Muslim community will get the blame, but they are not responsible. These are the actions of a small group of individuals, not the Muslim community as a whole.”
The attack follows a similar case in Burton in December 2009, when Muslim Tohseef Shah, 21, was found guilty of spraying “Islam will dominate the world” and  “Osama is on his way” on the town’s Lichfield war memorial.
He escaped with a conditional discharge after the Crown Prosecution Service ruled the crime was not religiously or racially motivated, despite his using the word “Islam” in his graffiti. At his trial, he refused to give an explanation for his actions or show any remorse.
Incredibly, before the perpetrator was apprehended, Dennis Fletcher, chairman of the East Staffordshire Racial Equality Council, said he suspected members of the “far right” were responsible and were trying to “stir things up”.
The Burton Mail, the local paper that carried the story, purposefully cropped the photograph of the vandalised war memorial in order to remove the Muslim graffiti itself from view, and no mention of its Islamic content was made in the report.
Anyone in the area with information is asked to telephone Burton police on 0300 1234455, quoting incident number 178 of March 21. Alternatively, they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
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