News about the sickening "Punish a Muslim Day," has been circulating across social media for nearly a month, prompting, what some are referring to as "psychological terrorism."
The threat originated in the United Kingdom when photos of letters encouraging people to take part in attacking Muslims on April 3 emerged online.
Initially, many hoped it would turn out to be a racist prank but, as the day fast approached, it didn't feel like a joke.
U.K. media reported that the local Muslim communities started sharing messages on social media platforms, warning people, especially hijab-wearing women, to stay indoors on April 3.
Tell MAMA, a group that monitors Islamophobia in the U.K., said people were also concerned about the well-being of their children.
"This has caused quite a lot of fear within the community," Iman Atta, director of Tell MAMA, told the BBC. "They are asking if they are safe, if their children are safe to play outdoors. We have told them to keep calm and to phone the police if they receive one of these letters."
British slam poet Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, 20, compared the fearmongering to "psychological terrorism" in a series of tweets.
Manzoor-Khan explained how her grandparents warned her not to step outside the house during the first three days of April.
Just speaking to my grandma on the phone she pleaded with me to please not go outside for the next three days... obviously I will, but the fact that it even makes sense to her to ask me to do that is horrifying— Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan (@thebrownhijabi) April 1, 2018
Manzoor-Khan further said even if the threats turn out to be a prank, the "damage is done" given the fact people are afraid to even step outside of their homes.
the fact this whole thing triggered that trauma for her is a type of psychological terrorisation. It breaks my heart that she sees no sense of change in safety levels between 1970 and 2018 Britain for poc/Muslims— Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan (@thebrownhijabi) April 1, 2018
U.K. police are investigating the letters, several reports of which have been received by Counter Terrorism Policing North East.
"Counter Terrorism Policing North East are coordinating the investigation at this time and will consider any potential links to existing inquiries," a police representative said. "Anyone with any concerns about a communication they may have received should contact their local police force."
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