A suspicious package received by Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq’s team this morning prompted a police investigation and an evacuation of parliament.
Police were called when the package was opened and a ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ letter and mysterious irritant substance was found inside.
A staffer, an ex-Met officer, was sent to hospital as a precaution and the substance was subsequently found to be low-level toxic.
Rupa said:“If the cowards that perpetrated this think that this will stop me standing against hatred they are sorely mistaken.
“Only yesterday in the House I highlighted the culture of anti-Muslim sentiment which has sadly become inherent in some of the right wing press.
“It’s time for some of our media to recognise the responsibility they have not to enflame tensions and inspire hatred.”
Rupa also sent a follow-up message about her staffer’s progress, on Twitter: “Staffer who went to hospital now discharged.
“There is a definite pattern. It was the letter that did the rounds at weekend and subject of Parliamentary urgent question yesterday which was received. Normal service now resumed – though scary experience.”
This was the second time this week that parliament was evacuated, following a similar letter to Muslim MP Mohammad Yasin. A third letter has been also sent to Muslim MP Rushanara Ali.
Iman Atta OBE, Director of Tell MAMA, an independent project measuring attacks on the Muslim population, said:
“The ‘Punish a Muslim’ letters have created fear and trepidation not only within those who have received them, but also within wider Muslim communities.
“We have been working directly on these cases to ensure that communities and individuals are re-assured.
“If anyone receives a letter, it is essential to keep the envelope and not to handle the letter too much.
“People should then get in touch with us at Tell MAMA or call 101 to be put through to the local police force. It is essential to report them in.”
Published in: Ealing Times