South Tyneside Muslim leader fears suspected race-hate car wash arson is part of backlash after Paris attacks

Lalon Amin.
Lalon Amin.
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A prominent member of the Muslim community says he fears the recent terrorist attack in Paris could have a backlash on the community in South Tyneside

Lalon Amin, from the Lawe Top, South Shields, believes there has been a notable change in attitudes towards the borough’s Muslim community since the terror attacks which saw terrorist group ISIS kill 130 people.

It comes after a suspected racially-motivated arson attack on a car wash in South Shields yesterday.

The 35-year-old businessman says he was subjected to a vile rant from yobs as he travelled on the Metro to Newcastle last week.

As Mr Amin, who runs the Refugee Aid Network, traveled with his family a group of men shouted ‘ISIS’ at him and then spat on the window where they sat as they alighted at Gateshead Stadium.

Mr Amin said: “The Muslim community is feeling fearful at the moment. The women are preferring to go out in groups and a number of us have been subjected to racist remarks.

“What’s happened at this car wash is disgusting, but that’s the problem if you have brown skin.

“Many ignorant people just seem to assume you are from Pakistan and a Muslim.

“For many years now the Muslim community has been part of South Shields and all faiths have lived alongside each other without any issues.

“But last Monday I was subjected to an Islamophobic incident on the Metro when I was with my family.

“This group was shouting ‘ISIS’ at us and then spat up against the window next to us.

“Attitudes have changed since the awful terrorist attacks in Paris but – while we might be Muslim – we’re still human and we’re just as scared of these terrorists.”

Mr Amin says he hopes the borough’s faiths will come together during these times of turmoil.

He said: “After 9/11 and the London bombings there was also a few incidents towards the Muslim community in the following weeks but then things did die down again.

“I just hope things stay under control and all communities will continue to live happily alongside each other.”

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