Four Muslim MPs sent suspicious packages at Westminster

Four Muslim MPs sent suspicious packages at Westminster

Four Muslim Labour MPs have been sent suspicious packages over the last 48 hours, at least three of which included copies of a “Punish a Muslim” letter that advocated violent acts against Muslims.

Labour MP Rupa Huq is the latest MP to receive the letter, copies of which are also understood to have been opened by Bethnal Green and Bow MP Rushanara Ali and Bedford MP Mohammad Yasin. A fourth package was sent to Manchester Gorton MP Afzal Khan, but was not opened.

A member of Huq’s staff has been taken to hospital as a precaution after opening the letter, which the MP told the Guardian was a “sticky substance” and the police had described as “low-level noxious”.

Police are investigating the “Punish a Muslim” letter, which has been distributed across the country, and details a list of violent acts alongside a number of points for performing them. Tell Mama UK, which monitors anti-Muslim hate crimes, said it had received reports of people in Bradford, Leicester, London, Cardiff and Sheffield getting the letters.

Huq, who is MP for Ealing Central and Acton, said she had been assured the substance was not harmful. “It is horrible though, it’s really very frightening,” she told the Guardian. “It is to put the frighteners on us but we won’t be cowed. I’m sure I won’t be the last and I’m sure this is part of a pattern of targeting Muslim MPs. Among my colleagues, people have shown support but they are outraged.”

All four suspicious letters sent to MPs have been found in the Norman Shaw north building in Westminster, which houses MPs’ offices and is linked by a walkway to Portcullis House.

A parliamentary spokesman confirmed four packages had been sent to the building in recent days and said police were investigating the latest package.

“This is further to the two items investigated yesterday, both of which were found to be non-harmful,” the spokesman said. “The police are investigating the content of the letters to identify any potential link.”

A Metropolitan police spokesman said: “Police were called at 9.49am on Tuesday 13 March to reports of a suspicious package at Norman Shaw Buildings, Victoria Embankment, Westminster. Specialist officers have been called and the package will be assessed.”

The spokesman said there were no reported injuries and inquiries were continuing.

Three police officers and five paramedics attended after Yasin’s staff reported the earlier package and a man and a woman were taken to hospital as a precaution.

“The substance contained in it was deemed not to be hazardous to health,” a Met police spokesman said on Monday. “The incident, which was contained to one room, has been stood down.”

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