OFFENSIVE and “disgusting” letters that call for a national ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ have been unequivocally condemned by community leaders and politicians in Swindon.

Muslims across the country this weekend received letters saying that April 3 will be ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ and points will be awarded for certain acts of violence, from 25 points for pulling off a woman’s head scarf, 500 points for murdering a Muslim and 1,000 for bombing a mosque.

As a result, the Labour MP for Bolton South East, Yasmin Qureshi, brought an urgent question to the House of Commons on Monday to address the issue.

She reminded the house that many Muslims fought for Britain in both wars and asked the government what they were doing to combat hate crime of this nature.

Home Office minister Victoria Atkins said: “Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, democracy, the rule of law and equal rights define us as a society. The government is determined to promote these values actively, working in a partnership along side Muslim and, indeed, all faith communities.”

People in Swindon have also hit out at the “atrocious” and “highly insulting” letters.

Enam Chowdhury, of the Hazrat Shahjalal Central Mosque and Bangladesh Islamic Centre in Manchester Road, was part of the committee that late last month sought to foster community cohesion by inviting people to a special open day at the mosque.

Speaking about his initial reaction to the letters, he said: “I imagine it was very scary to have received something like that. We are all living in harmony and cannot imagine why anyone would do this.”

Enam said it was highly reassuring to see MPs and top police officials unequivocally condemn the letters and signal their solidarity with the Muslim community.

“It’s very helpful to hear that reassurance from politicians and it will probably help people who are feeling vulnerable,” he said.

“We know the vast majority of the people of the UK are with us and united against this type of hatred.”

Police and other officials have warned people to be vigilant and counterterrorism officials are investigating.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland has been deeply involved in attempts to tackle hate crime and he branded this latest episode “appalling” and “divisive”.

He said: “This was a deliberate attempt to divide the community and intimidate people. Hate crime is a criminal offence and I think it’s important to send a strong message that this sort of thing will be taken seriously by the police and the CPS.”

Echoing Enam’s sentiments, he said it was vitally important that politicians sought to reassure those affected that those in power were on their side against the agents of hate. He also praised Swindon’s record when it comes to community relations.

“I am very proud that Swindon has a great record of harmony and of people working together. It is something that must be protected.”

The letters criticise Britain and other countries in Europe with migrant and Muslim populations.

They claim Britain is becoming “overrun by those who would like nothing more than to do us harm”.