SIX YEARS ON: The savage racist murder of Birmingham pensioner Mohammed Saleem
Whilst for many today is just a regular Monday, for the family of Mohammed Saleem, today marks six years since their loved one was brutally taken away from them in a racially-aggravated murder.
Saleem, who was 82-years-old, was singled out and murdered in Small Heath on the 29th April 2013 as he walked home from morning prayers at his local mosque.
The attacker, Pavlo Lapshyn, had been known for racist and neo-Nazi activity in Ukraine, and was later found guilty of attempting to blow up three different mosques during his brief stay in the UK. His vicious and fatal assault on Saleem was carried out only days after he arrived in Britain, not long after he settled in Birmingham where he enrolled into university and was accepted on a work placement.
Lapshyn was charged under terrorism laws for both the murder and the bombings and is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence, however arguments have been made by a number of people, including Saleem’s daughter Maz, that Lapshyn has not been treated as he would have been if he was Muslim.
In statements during sentencing, Lapshyn said that his reasoning behind the murder and bombings was that “they are not white – and I am white”.
Since the murder of Saleem outside Green Lane Masjid in Small Heath, other elderly Muslim men have been singled out and murdered in similar hate crimes.
One of which was 81-year-old Muhsin Ahmed, who died from his injuries after being punched, kicked and stamped on the head by two white men while on his way to morning prayer in 2015.
Since the murder of her father, Maz Saleem has taken up activism, campaigning against racism and Islamophobia in Britain, hoping to combat a rise in hate crimes and Islamophobia believed to have derived from political movements such as UKIP and the Trump movement rising in recent years, and many still fear that these hate crimes will not be the last.