UK: Man admits posting 'Punish a Muslim Day' letter

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON (AA) – A man admitted Friday that he was responsible for posting a hate letter earlier this year targeting Muslims in the UK.

David Parnham, a 35-year-old white supremacist, pleaded guilty to 15 offenses relating to hundreds of racist hate letters written between June 2016 and June 2018, including the so-called ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ letter, which caused an outcry.

The other offenses included sending letters and white power to the Queen, Prime Minister Theresa May and Muslim Tory peer Lord Ahmad.

Parnham, who is from Lincoln, was arrested in June on suspicion of soliciting to murder and sending a hoax noxious substance and threatening letters, according to a statement from the Lincolnshire Police.

He also pleaded guilty to encouraging murder, making hoaxes involving noxious substances and bombs, sending letters with intent to cause distress and encouraging offenses.

-Hate letter

The letter, which announced a so-called “Punish a Muslim Day” on April 3, called on people to attack Muslims in the form of verbal abuse, removing a woman’s hijab or headscarf, physical assault, or using acid on them.

It was posted to various addresses in March and was also circulated on messaging service WhatsApp as well as social media platforms.

The letter showed a scale of “points” based on the action taken against Muslims.

The hate letter urged terrorist acts, including 'butchering a Muslim using gun, knife, vehicle or otherwise' and 'burning or bombing a mosque'.

Tell MAMA, a group tracking anti-Muslim hate crimes in the UK, said it had been sent several reports of the letter from Muslims in London, the Midlands and Yorkshire.

"This has caused quite a lot of fear within the community,” said Iman Atta, director of Tell MAMA.

"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 counter-terrorism police launched a probe into the hate letter shortly after the reports in March, and Parnham was caught through DNA, handwriting and fingerprints on the letters.

Seven hate letters by the perpetrator were intercepted at the Sheffield mail center in July 2016 and found to contain harmless white powder.

A further 11 letters were delivered before being identified.

Parnham was remanded in custody until the next hearing on Nov. 23.