Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Off the Wall!

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Off the Wall!

Article excerpt

Byline: Hannah Flint, Antonia Paget and Phil Archbold Reporters

CLEANERS get to work after hate-filled yobs struck and daubed racist grafitti about terror group ISIS.

Business owner Najeb Kosar woke up to find the words 'Turkish ISIS Supporters' spray-painted on the wall of his shop.

It was one of three messages relating to the terrorist group which beheaded British cab driver Alan Henning.

The graffiti has been condemned by residents and campaigners calling for better understanding between Muslims and the wider community in the Westgate Road area of Newcastle's West End. Mr Kosar, 39, said: "I opened my shop and quite a few people were standing around holding their mouth when they were reading it."

The shop owner, from Afghanistan, has lived in the area for the last 15 years and said he did not understand why his shop had been defaced with the writing.

He said: "We have no idea why they have written it. I run a business, I'm not in politics. It shouldn't be anything to do with us.

"I don't think they have targeted me personally, they are passing on their message to others."

The shop owner called the police nonemergency number 101 and the message was quickly washed away by Newcastle City Council staff.

But it is unclear whether the building was defaced in an anti-Muslim act or whether it was a pro-ISIS message.

One version of the graffiti appeared to read 'Turkish ISIS supporters. Long life to you'.

Iftikar Akram, owner of NE Smartphones in the area, said he did not understand what the message was trying to achieve.

"I don't know what that means. Is it other people trying to call the Turkish terrorists? I don't know the purpose of it," he said.

Mr Kosar, who has lived in the area for 15 years, added that he has never seen any trouble in the community.

He said: "It's a big Muslim community around here, but there are also people from all over Europe. Everyone is nice and friendly, people are living peacefully. …

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