— Gary Young (@gd_yng) May 21, 2014
The community center where the band started has been completely gutted in the attack, which was suspected to be racially motivated They had been receiving anti-Islamic hate mail for some time now. Ulfah Arts and Media spokeswoman Sarah Javid said “Over the last two months our CEO (Prashant Singh) has been receiving hate mail which has been anti-Islamic.” “He also received a DVD which was full of race hate messages. “Mr Singh has no idea why anyone would have a personal vendetta against him or the organization. But the fire has destroyed everything. It’s destroyed equipment, but also all of our projects, some we have been working on for over a year.”
The Ulfah Collective comprises of Muslim women from Pakistan, Somalia, Bangladesh, some Arab countries and Jamaica – with ages ranging from 13 to 42. The core team of the band is five members but expands to 14 members for larger performances.
The varying backgrounds and cultures bring together different interpretations of Islam that are heard by women-only audiences. The group writes its own lyrics as well as vocal compositions and only uses a hand drum in their performances.
Their music is universal and apart from traditional Islamic songs, includes songs from the literature of other faiths such as the gospel.
Hate crimes against Muslims soared in the UK during 2013. Hundreds of anti-Muslim offenses were carried out across the country, especially after the murder of soldier Lee Rigby by two Islamic extremists in Woolwich, Southeast London, in May.
Britain’s biggest force, the Metropolitan police, recorded 500 Islamophobic crimes in 2013, up from 336 in 2012 and 318 in 2011.
The fact that the figure may actually be higher than reported is extremely disturbing – but it is a fact. Nearly half of the 43 forces in England and Wales had not revealed how many hate crimes targeted Muslims.
Some officials even admitted not always recording the faith of the victim.