An activist in the Muslim community says people who posted stickers around South Shields calling for mosques to be banned are trying to ‘create disharmony’.
Shah Lalon Amin, chair of the Refugee Aid Network, is upset that messages from the National Front have appeared in the town.
The sticker features a no smoking-style symbol showing a silhouette of a mosque, and the words ‘Vote National Front’ and ‘no more mosques!’
One was spotted stuck to a lamp post opposite Waterloo Square, in the town centre.
Lalon said: “It’s creating disharmony and it’s creating fear. It’s something that shouldn’t be tolerated. It’s demonising a place of worship and action should be taken against crimes like this.
“South Shields is a place of renowned integration. I was born here and I’ve always felt that we’ve been a close knit community. It should remain like that and people should be respecting other people’s faith and their places of worship.
“It’s stigmatising mosques and they don’t need this.”
There are three mosques in South Shields – Alazhar Mosque, in Laygate, and Baitul Ma’mur Jame-e-Masjid and Islamic Centre and South Tyneside Bangladesh Muslim Cultural Association and Mosque, both in the town centre.
Lalon added: “We have open days at our mosques, where we invite people to come along and see what it’s all about.
“This kind of attitude doesn’t help, especially when Islamophobia is on the rise in some towns and cities where right wing groups are creating hatred towards Muslims.”
The sticker has appeared just weeks after a poster from the Northern Patriotic Front sparked outrage in the town.
That one appeared to suggest that all refugees are rapists.
It featured the words, ‘Attention! ********* not welcome’ and ‘Stay away’, and a drawing of a woman running from a mob armed with knives. It was spotted by a resident near South Tyneside District Hospital.
Lalon said: “Islamophobia is on the rise and this kind of thing further helps to promote that kind of hatred.
“It’s creating racial and religious hatred towards a minority group. Mosques have been vandalised, attacked, and this sort of message, what does it say?”
No comment was available from the National Front.