Muslim leaders appealed for calm today after an Asian man was killed in an apparent racist attack as he left a corner shop.
Islamic groups fear the assault on Kamal Raza Butt in Nottingham was part of a backlash following the terrorist atrocities last week.
Six youths were being questioned by detectives over the murder but police said it was inappropriate to speculate on a motive for the killing.
Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “There does appear to be a backlash taking place.
“Up until the weekend no-one had been seriously injured but the weekend’s murder in Nottingham makes it far more serious.
“We are in touch with the police over this. They suspect it was racially motivated but they are not confirming whether it was anything to do with last week’s attacks.
“It is enormously worrying that this has occurred. There has been a spate of attacks on mosques around the country and we know that elements on the far right have been trying to exploit last week’s atrocity.
“Attacks on mosques – damage to bricks and mortar – can always be repaired. It is human beings we are trying to protect.
“All of us must be co-operating with the police.”
Detectives launched a murder inquiry after the victim was found unconscious in Hope Close in The Meadows on Sunday afternoon.
The man, who had been staying with a friend in Nottingham for about six weeks, was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Detective Chief Inspector Russ Foster, of Nottinghamshire Police, said the incident was being investigated as a racially-aggravated attack.
The man is believed to have walked to a nearby shop called Carol’s Cabin and made a purchase, but as he left an incident took place which led to him collapsing unconscious, he said.
Six male youths were arrested in connection with the death yesterday and are being questioned by police.
A post-mortem examination was carried out on the body at Leicester Royal Infirmary but police have not revealed the cause of death.
Superintendent Dave Colbeck, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “The reality is that it would be inappropriate to comment on the possible motive.
“It is a localised incident and we are not looking at it as anything other than an isolated incident.
“It would appear to be a one-off and it would be highly inappropriate be speculate.
“Unless something comes along that links the events in London and this event, then we will treat it as an isolated incident.
“There has been an altercation, some action has been taken by this group of youths and as a result he has died from his injuries.
“From the inquiries we have made in the area, it leads us to believe we should investigate it as a racist attack.”
Mosques in Leeds, Birkenhead, Telford, Bristol and Stepney Green and Merton in London have been subjected to arson attacks and vandalism since the co-ordinated bombings last week.
Muslims have been warned to be vigilant, and letters have been sent to community leaders calling for dialogue with the police to help bring the perpetrators of the bombings to justice.