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Muslim Council Leader Sent Death Threats After Her Car ‘firebombed’

Oldham Council leader Arooj Shah has called for political parties to unite against online hate and abuse (Picture: MEN Media)

A town’s first female Muslim leader has revealed she has received ‘regular’ death threats since taking up the role.

Oldham Council leader Arooj Shah, whose car was firebombed outside her home in July, has called for political parties to unite against online hate and abuse after the killing of MP Sir David Amess.

Ms Shah, who was addressing a full council meeting following a minute’s silence for the Conservative MP, said the tragic event on October 15 had ‘brought into sharp focus the risk we all take when representing our communities’.

The Labour councillor, who took up the role in May, said members had a duty to create a ‘catalyst for change’ in Oldham and elsewhere.

She added: ‘The tone of political discourse in Oldham, particularly online, has become truly toxic.

‘I know that many of you across all parties regularly face abuse, harassment and intimidation online and some of us, unfortunately, face it in person too.

‘Much of that abuse is incited by misinformation spread online. For clarity, I am not seeking reduced accountability.

Councillor Arooj Shah represents the Chadderton South ward on Oldham Council (Picture: Shutterstock)

‘I welcome challenge on my policies and priorities, that’s a central part of the job and essential to democracy.

‘What I am seeking is less hatred and less personal abuse, most of which is fuelled by lies and misinformation.

‘And also if I’m going to be really frank, by the colour of my skin, by my religion and by the fact that I am a woman.

‘Over the last few months I have faced regular death threats, I have been approached and verbally attacked in the street and on a small number of occasions physically threatened by people.

‘I know that I’m not alone in facing these threats and these worries and I know I’m not alone in seeing this impact on my family members.’

More: News

Ms Shah confirmed that she had reported the threats and abuse to Greater Manchester Police.

The councillor, who has been open about the racism, Islamophobia and misogyny she has experienced while in public office, had her car firebombed earlier this year.

No one was hurt in the attack on July 13, which police described as a ‘reckless, abhorrent act’.

A Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said at the time: ‘It was established that the vehicle was deliberately ignited, also causing slight damage to a neighbouring property.’

Metro.co.uk has contacted Greater Manchester Police for comment.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Article: metro.co.uk

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