Fears of backlash in Scotland as boy and mosque attacked

Police patrols have been stepped up around mosques and Muslim communities in Scotland amid fears of a racist backlash in the wake of the London bombings. The greater police visibility in Edinburgh follows an unprovoked attack on a teenage Asian boy, who was beaten up on a busy street in broad daylight by a white skinhead who shouted racist abuse.

The 16-year-old boy, who has not been named, was with an 11-year-old friend on Leith Walk when the man began shouting at them at about 2pm on Tuesday. The man then punched the older boy repeatedly, knocking him to the ground, before running off when an elderly Asian man intervened.

The teenager was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary with a suspected fractured cheekbone, bruising and cuts. Police are appealing for witnesses.

The assault follows attacks on the Shah Jalal Mosque in the city and a Pakistani community centre, both of which were defaced with racist graffiti last Thursday. Doors were daubed with the words “Islam Scum” and “This centre sympathises with terrorists”.

Police, who described the attacks as appalling, said that reports of verbal abuse against Asians had increased in the past week in Edinburgh and Glasgow, home to Scotland’s largest Asian communities.

Muslim leaders warned the Asian community yesterday to be on guard and to report any racial incidents to officers.

Times, 14 July 2005