Two years ago, a north London private school approached its neighbour, a elderly woman living on her own, offering to purchase her property in order to allow the school to expand.
Mariam Hafesji, a woman in her 60’s, who’d been living in the property for the last 22 years said no. The school then embarked on a campaign to ‘persuade’ Mariam to sell the property. It started innocently enough, with the estate agents acting on the schools behalf contacting her with offers & escalated into a two year campaign of racist abuse, criminal damage & threats of violence.
As soon as the harassment started Ms Hafesji contacted the Police, however over the next two years with repeated calls & meetings with the police, independent witnesses & Video evidence of criminal damage & harassement the Police refused to open a criminal investigation and each time the family approached the Police it was dismissed as a ‘civil dispute’.
Ms Hafesji family eventually, out of frustration & despair lodged an official Police complaint. The complaint was never acknowledged & it eventually transpired it had been lost by the police, letters asking to explain why the complaint was ‘lost’ were never acknowledged.
Ms Hafesji then tried to stop the terror campaign through community mediation, repeated attempts to do this with the school met with silence & the race hate continued.
What made this case unique was that the offending school was a orthodox Jewish school and the neighbour was a elderly Muslim woman living in Stamford hill, home to the Uk’s largest Jewish orthodox community.
Previous to this case both communities had enjoyed excellent community relations for the last three decades resolving any issues through grass roots level mediation.
Whilst one can only speculate why the police were negligent in their duty of care, this case has highlighted anti-Muslim prejudice, in the UK, is institutionalised & attacks on the community are sanctioned at the highest level .
Following intervention by the Islamic Human right commision, On Saturday 26th march channel four news aired Ms hafesji’s case very briefly.
Many questions now need to be asked of Stoke Newington police station and the family are calling for an inquiry into why the schools terror campaign was allowed to happen for so long.
In Ms Hafesji own words “If this had been a secular private British school embarking on a campaign of hate, terror & criminal damage against a white elderly neighbour then there would be an inquiry into how the school was being run, there would also calls for the resignation of the schools board as well as the launch of a criminal investigation.”
This begs the question of how many familiies are out there suffering from anti-muslim & racist abuse who have been left to suffer in silence by the Police & who do not have the resources to highlight their plight.
The family are keen to point out that the fault does not lie with the jewish community but on the Police’s failure to serve and protect communities regardless of faith, race and class.
Should members of the public wish to register their concerns with Stoke Newington police station please contact them on:
Telephone: (020) 7739 1212
The elderly womans representive may be contacted on 07957 503 710