European Results Show a Collapse in Liberal Democrat Support

It seems that two parties on polar ends of the political spectrum on Europe have been the losers and winners in the EU elections. UKIP romped home with major gains across the regions whilst the Liberal Democrat vote failed to shore up or even turn out in any force. The result was a Liberal Democrat cache of 1 seat and no doubt with plenty of disgruntled ex-MEP’s and councillors who may well turn against the leadership of the Party.

Many Liberal Democrat activists are social democrats and social progressives. Many feel that there is a gulf between the leadership and between members and some Liberal Democrat supporters also moved away from the Party when the decision was made to go into Coalition with the Conservatives. Yet, there is a growing sense of discontentment that the Liberal Democrat leadership must take into account and address, and quickly.

The loss of council seats and the corresponding loss of MEP seats will no doubt strengthen the campaign asking for a change of leadership within the Liberal Democrats. However, it is clear that the Liberal Democrats will not be ditching their leader and Nick Clegg will be leading the Party, however battered, into the next election. This is the only way forward since ditching a leader who has held the Coalition together would really be committing suicide at such a sensitive time as the Parliamentary elections loom over the horizon.

Support for the European project has been a key flagship policy for the Liberal Democrats and the wipe out in the results this evening means that the Party needs to reflect and act quickly. Their message on Europe failed to move the general public and also has given the wider public the impression that they may fast be becoming irrelevant. This would be a disaster for British politics since the Liberal Democrats have been and will be a force for change as social progressives and social democrats.

Whatever the future holds, now is the time for the Party to dig deep, regroup, support the Party machinery and hold its nerve whilst promoting its progressive politics to our country. Doing any less will surely lead to further defeats at the General Election.

Categories: MyBlog, Politics

TIMOTHY MARTIN BURTON FROM THE WEST MIDLANDS AGAIN

Last Thursday, I highlighted the case of Timothy Martin Burton who targeted me for over 10 months because of my perceived faith. Here are full details of the targeting that took place, by Burton.However, here is some background that has come to light on Timothy Martin Burton aka @catstrangler1012013 article about HuT:

“First of all, I would like to reiterate that there is NO SUCH THING as Islamo-phobia. Islam, as a totalitarian political ideology, seeks to overthrow and destroy all Western Governments and societies based on Judaeo-Christian principles, which arguably represent the best framework to date for the advancement of humanity, not only for our generation, but for subsequent generations, and that framework is undeniably superior – on EVERY measurable scale – to anything that Islam has to offer. The religious aspects of Islam are of no interest to non-Muslims, but to be concerned about the effects of the political ideology of Islam on our civilisation is not Islamo-phobia, it is Islamo-REALISM.”

2013 article:In defence of the English Defence League:

“Despite all this, the EDL continues to represent the views of many common people like myself who believe that the unrestricted, uncontrolled presence of a large Muslim population in ANY Western country poses a significant danger to national security. An unbiased look at their website is sufficient, in my view, to demonstrate that the EDL is in no way a “hate group” and is in no way racist or bigoted in the point of view they seek to get across to reasonable people. There is a HUGE problem, not with individual Muslims who, as I have often said, are generally charming and courteous, but with the political ideology of Islam, which seeks to subjugate us all under the barbaric rules of Sharia Law, which necessarily includes the suppression of freedom of speech, (as demonstrated by the support of the 25000 Muslims who turned out in Birmingham in late April) and which hides behind the cloak of religion to promote its totalitarian agenda of world domination.”

“My last thoughts on this subject include a way in which the EDL could perhaps make itself more effective. In the US recently, the American Freedom Defence Initiative (AFDI, in conjunction with SION – Stop the Islamisation of Nations) produced an 18-point platform for a sane, sensible set of policies which freedom-loving groups in every Western country would do well to consider for adoption as follows:

E.g, Surveillance of mosques and regular inspections of mosques in the U.S. and other non-Muslim nations to look for pro-violence materials. Any mosque advocating jihad or any aspects of Sharia that conflict with Constitutional freedoms and protections should be closed.”

Klout profile of @catstrangler101 (includes some abusive tweets)

2012 tweet about Islam being a murderous ideology

Burton wrotea long response to Tommy Robinson leaving the EDL:

“Not to mention, of course, that the EDL are labelled as “far right extremists” when in fact they represent the centre ground of concerned indigenous British citizens of all cultures. By the way, for those of you on the left who are so fond of portraying the EDL as racists – this is nothing whatsoever to do with race or with the colour of one’s skin – it is a natural response by freedom-loving patriots which has been forced on us through the negligent actions of, or by the complicity of our political elites, against the totalitarian, supremacist political ideology of Islam which threatens the entire world today – an ideology which is every bit as nasty, pervasive and evil today as Nazism was when it threatened the entire world seventy years ago.”

Burton is part of a counter-Jihad blog titled ‘Freedom Loving Infidel’ also has a co.uk link.

Burton has posted pieces on Eurabia, Geert Wilders and ‘Islamisation by birth rate’ – or reposting content from Jihad Watch (2008). It cites among must read links: Jihad Watch, Bare Naked Islam, Dhimmi Watch, Archbishop Cramer, Pat Condell, Infidel Bloggers Alliance, Daniel Pipes.

An unconfirmed YouTube account (with the same name) posted this racist comment:

“I’ve got nothing against niggers, I think every home should have one.”

Other comments on the YouTube account discuss Islam.

This link suggests Burton had posted various comments on stories on sites like Jihad Watch.

Linked to EDL Radio

Example of WordPress coments

Posted the EDL logo to his Facebook in 2013

Burton is also a member of the Canada Defence League Facebook page

Example of Jihad Watch comment (2010):

“So what will it take for the US to recognise that we have a maliciously-motivated fifth column living amongst us? Another 9/11, multiplied by hundreds or thousands thanks to the wonders of nuclear bomb-making technology disseminated to Muslim countries?
My two cents:

Stop Muslim immigration and prevent any further mosque building.

Citizenship to be dependent on NOT being a Muslim.

Disbar any Muslim now here from serving in public office in any capacity – especially any political / armed forces / police capacity.

Commence a program of Muslim repatriation and mosque sequestration / demolition.

It would be cheaper in terms of blood and treasure compared to what is coming down the pike.

Catstrangler 101. Not a cat. Not a strangler. Not 101.”

Categories: MyBlog, Uncategorized

Timothy Martin Burton, aka ‘M-CAT’ @catstrangler101 and the Targeted Campaign

The Tweets

Over the last 10 months I have been subjected to a hate campaign that involved a West Midlands based Timothy Martin Burton, who through a variety of accounts, targeted me because of my faith and on the back of a series of articles highlighting the TELL MAMA Islamophobic monitoring project. Whilst Timothy Martin Burton’s @catstrangler101 account was reported to the local police and through ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officer) contacts, no action was taken even though multiple tweets were targeted at TELL MAMA (of which I am the Director) and which specifically named me. It was at this point where we decided to act and information was provided by TELL MAMA to West Midlands Police which linked Timothy Martin Burton to the @catstrangler101 M-CAT account that had over 6,000 Twitter followers, many of them Far Right sympathisers. A look at this account provided us with an insight into the mind-set of Timothy Martin Burton when we found a tweet from the 18th of May 2012 which read:

“#ThingsWeAskGod2HelpUsWith – Getting rid of all the inbred, parasitic, welfare scrounging Muslim paedophiles out of our country for a start.”

The campaign against me was triggered off after an Andrew Gilligan article that was written in the Telegraph on the 2nd of June 2013. The subsequent campaign by Timothy Martin Burton went onto March 2014 and was conducted by Burton through Twitter and through a number of Far Right and extremist web-sites that crossed the United States, the UK and Australia. In one of the postings on a bizarre and virulently anti-Muslim Australian focussed web-site, Timothy Martin Burton stated, “Excellent post Mike, and I shall be reposting it far and wide, a strategy that will no doubt include the hire of an enormous billboard situated right outside Fiyaz Mughal’s office window.” We will come onto the statements made by that article and by Mike Holt, the owner of the site. In fact, a quick look at the site shows a campaign to donate to the Restore Australia web-site to ban the Bendingo Mosque campaign in Australia. Hardly impartial, the Restore Australia project is a patchwork quilt of xenophobic, anti-Muslim and extreme comments and articles.

So, what were the targeted tweets that were aimed at us? On the 2nd of June 2013, we received the following tweet after the Gilligan article went live on the Telegraph web-site. It was addressed to @tellmamauk, the Twitter address for the anti-Muslim hate crime monitoring project and also included the English Defence League Twitter address. Coming from Timothy Martin Burton it read:

“@Official_EDL, @tellmamauk: Let’s stick it to that mendacious taquiyya (sic) artist Fiyaz Mughal.”

For those not aware of the meaning of the word ‘Taqiyya’, we have listed the context and the meaning in this previous article. Clearly, in this context, the term was used to suggest that I, because of my faith, lied to spread, protect or further Islam. The narrative is virtually identical to the twisted anti-Semitism of Far Right groups who see Jews as maliciously wanting to subvert the Christian West by taking over positions of assumed power. In this context, it was targeted at me, because of my faith.

On the 3rd of June 2013, I received another tweet from an account named FreedomLovin’Terrier @ardentadmirer1. It read as:

“Breaking News @tellmamauk: Mendacious Muslim scumbag Fiyaz Mughal agrees not to tell any more porkies if UK Gov’t give him back his £214,000 back.” We believed this to be Timothy Martin Burton given the use of the same vocabulary in the tweet.

Again on the 3rd of June 2013, we received a further tweet from Timothy Martin Burton’s @catstrangler101 M-CAT account which stated the following:

“#MyJihad – the taqqiyya (sic) by @tellmamauk about the ‘wave of attacks on Muslims’ after the Woolwich Islamic murder.” A link was also attached to this tweet directed at us in TELL MAMA and naming me and isolating me out for my faith because of the taqiyya suggestion.

Once again on the 3rd of June, Timothy Martin Burton sent us another tweet from his M-CAT @catstrangler101 account which stated:

“@tellmamauk – I wish to report Fiyaz Mughal for being a mendacious, grievance-mongering little Muslim scumbag and I want my £214,000 back.” These tweets were retweeted by a coterie of Far Right activists on-line.

On the 9th of June Timothy Martin Burton’s M-CAT @catstrangler101 account went into action again and he targeted me specifically again. It read as:

“#MyJihad – Thanks to M-CAT, the mendacious little scumbag Fiyaz Mughal @tellmamauk has had his funding withdrawn.”The tweet ended with a link and was referenced to another article written by Andrew Gilligan which asserted that our funding had been withdrawn because TELL MAMA had, according to the Telegraph, overplayed the backlash against Muslim communities and which we had previously challenged in TELL MAMA. However, what is clear is that after the murder of Lee Rigby, there was a sharp rise in anti-Muslim hate incidents and crimes and these can be further triangulated here and here. I don’t choose to go over the whole debate since this matter is now in the past and TELL MAMA and the work that we do must move forward for the sake of the people that we are helping – victims of anti-Muslim hatred.

Timothy Martin Burton continued with his hate campaign stating in a tweet on the 15th of June 2013 through the M-CAT @catstrangler101 account:

“#FamousMuslimQuotes – “Yes infidel, Islam has always been at the forefront of medical technology. Now shut up and drink this camel piss.”

He carried on with a further tweet to the 6,000 plus followers and to the Twitter-sphere saying:

“#MyJihad Hey kuffar! Fed up with Islam? Don’t like your Muslim neighbours? Mosque in your area causing a problem? Call 1-800-DRONE-STRIKE now!” Two references were made here and the first being a twist on the use of the #MyJihad hashtag which was being used by some Muslim Twitter users to take away the violent nature of the assumptions of the word and the latter was a reference to the drone strikes conducted in a few Muslim majority countries, such as Pakistan. Burton was using this as a way of further inflaming sentiments within Muslim communities.

On the 18th of June 2013, Timothy Martin Burton, again through the now infamous M-CAT @catstrangler101 account tweeted the following:

“FYI  I don’t like having to refer to Muslims as shit-for-brains, but indoctrination with Islam removes capacity for constructive thinking.”

On the 19th of June 2013, Timothy Martin Burton went onto tweet the following:

“#MyJihad – Not all Muslims are terrorists, paedophiles, retarded fuckwits our pushy little inbred welfare parasites with shit for brains.”

“@Little_Otto – Unfortunately I am restrained by the 140 char limit but I think we can safely say that misogyny is a defining characteristic.” This tweet referred to Muslims.

“@ellierogerz @SarveshKrDev – At the end of the day, Islamic ideology is not just an alternative viewpoint. It IS pure, unmitigated evil.”

So prolific was Timothy Martin Burton on Twitter that he decided to contact us at the beginning of September 2013. Through a separate account, which we believed to be his, he tweeted through @Muhammadtehpig (sic):

“#My Jihad – the Taqqiyya by @tellmamauk about the wave of attacks on Muslims after the Woolwich Islamic murder.”The tweet was identical to the one sent to us on the 3rd of June 2013 through his M-CAT @catstrangler101 account. So here was Burton using another account which he described as, “the Sous Chef of Allah’s Snackbar. Signature dishes include bacon and pork sausages. BBQ’d over a bed of burning Qu’rans for that special charcoal flavour. #TGDN #TCOT.”

In fact, from that same account, 7 minutes later he targeted us at TELL MAMA again with the following tweet:

“Breaking News @tellmamauk Mendacious Muslim Scumbag Fiyaz Mughal agrees not to tell any more porkies if UK Govt give him back his £214,000.” This tweet was not only identical in its nature to the one on the 3rd of June 2013 sent from another account we believe was associated with him (@ardentadmirer1), it also listed monies identical in amount to the ones emanating from his infamous @catstrangler101 account. In fact a further set of tweets were sent and targeted at TELL MAMA which went on until the 22nd of September 2013.

The Arrest of Timothy Martin Burton

Timothy Martin Burton was finally arrested by West-Midlands police after we within TELL MAMA made the case of a direct link to the @catstrangler101 account. Timothy Martin Burton was bailed on the proviso that no contact was made with myself. Part of this assumption was that he would not contact the @tellmamauk Twitter address, yet on the 18th of January 2014 Timothy Martin Burton was active again on Twitter. The following tweet again demonstrated his views of Muslims or ‘Mohammedans’ as he called them. This came through his @catstrangler101 account:

“#MyJihad – Apologies for using ‘Mohammeddans’ in my previous post when what I meant was – terrorist, paedophiles and inbred welfare parasites.”

Timothy Martin Burton followed this tweet with one on the 1st of March 2014, some 5 weeks before the trial at Birmingham Magistrate’s court. From the usual @catstrangler101 account it stated:

“Threatening arrests over a tweet – the mendacious grievance-mongering taqqiyya (sic) artists @tellmamauk are at it again.”So not only did he breach his bail conditions, Timothy Martin Burton continued to target and promote anti-Muslim hate publicly and openly on the Twitter platforms, including us at TELL MAMA knowing that I would probably come across the material as the Director of the project.

Links to Far Right Sites

Over the course of 2013, we had provided significant evidence to West-Midlands police as to internet links that Timothy Martin Burton had with Robert Spencer in the US. One of the doyennes of the virulently anti-Muslim so called counter-Jihad network, Robert Spencer has been banned from entering the UK by the Home Secretary.A further appeal also failed and the initial letter from the Home Office to the anti-Muslim blogger Robert Spencer read,

“After careful consideration, she [the Home Secretary] personally directed that you should be excluded from the United Kingdom on the grounds that your presence here is not conducive to the public good.”

“The Home Secretary has reached this decision because you have brought yourself within the scope of the list of unacceptable behaviours by making statements that may foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.”

Furthermore, Timothy Martin Burton was responsible for writing numerous blogs about TELL MAMA and I on the virulently anti-Muslim Liberty GB site which we have raised before. Further information on the anti-Muslim Far Right Liberty GB site can be gained through this link. Interestingly during one of his discussions on the Liberty GB site in January 2014 with a Sheryl McNaught whom TELL MAMA have highlighted before, Timothy Martin Burton stated,

“Hi Sheryl, it’s interesting that TellMamaUK are monitoring your posts on this site. I’m going to make sure Fiyaz Mughal gets his clock cleaned over his fraudulent and mendacious activities. By the time this trial is over his name is going to be mud throughout the world…………… Of course Liberty GB is in no way racist or Islamophobic, so if you wish to continue posting here then feel free, there’s nothing TellMamaUK can do about it.

Australian Pals

One of Timothy Martin Burton’s Australian pals is a Mike Holt of Restore Australia. A read of this bizarre and vitriolic twisted site with its deeply anti-Muslim views is not only stomach churning, it demonstrates the on-line virulently anti-Muslim connections that Timothy Martin Burton had built up. So coming back full circle to the earlier statement that Timothy Martin Burton made of circulating this material far and wide, this is a brief example of what Burton wanted to circulate written by the bizarre Mike Holt:

“If Islam was not in the UK……… he (Fiyaz Mughal) would not be standing on his two hind legs to bleat about an insult that called him such terrible names as mendacious grievance mongering taqqiyya (sic) artist, and a lying Muslim scumbag.

This small segment of this virulently twisted and hate filled blog showed who Timothy Martin Burton connected with and who he had reached out to for support. (Interestingly, so buoyed up is Timothy Martin Burton that he has set up his own Wikipedia Page that can be found here. Interestingly, the person who set it up – is a certain Timothy Martin Burton).

The Verdict

On Tuesday the 8th of April 2014, after 2 hours of cross-examining by the solicitor of Timothy Martin Burton and after completely rebutting a confused and bizarre defence put up by the solicitor, I learnt that the defendant had been released. The judge stated that the CPS had not made its case on the racially aggravated harassment charges. Yet, what is worrying is that this case was less about race and more about my perceived religious background as the language and terminology shows.

One of these reasons the case failed, was because a Crown Prosecution Service who even with all of the information provided by us, could not make the case. Furthermore, this case was also based on the use of the term taqiyya which we have listed before and which the CPS did not back up with further specialist testimony or evidence. It also felt to me that the CPS was struggling to fully make the case on the terminology of anti-Muslim hate terms used – taqiyya in this case, (and given the background of Timothy Martin Burton and his links to Far Right groups), the context of the hate was clear.

On the issue of the term ‘taqiyya’, two years of work on anti-Muslim language and rhetoric shows that the frequency of the word is significant in anti-Muslim rhetoric targeted at Muslims as this article show. The CPS did miss out on the network and connections that Timothy Martin Burton had with Far Right sites and the lesson from this case is that much more work needs to be done on understanding the language of anti-Muslim hate. (Whilst, I can move on from this experience, what would the impact of such a verdict have on a Muslim visible female for example, and how would it make her feel about others or non-Muslims even).

Last but not least, what message does the verdict send out to British Muslims who may be targeted and called ‘taqiyya’ (lying because of their faith) Muslim scumbags? More than ever, what this case shows is that the CPS and its understanding of language around anti-Muslim hate lags well behind where things are today. Saying that, I will continue to work with the CPS since this is the way to ensure real change for victims who suffer targeted hate and intimidation. If we can make any changes to reduce and alleviate their suffering, then all of this would have been worth it and I am a firm believer that changes takes time and that consistency, tenacity and strong evidence builds that change. I also believe in State institutions and whilst I did not achieve the justice that I wanted, no doubt, change is coming and it is on the horizon.

Categories: MyBlog, Uncategorized

Speech by Fiyaz Mughal at the TELL MAMA (Measuring anti-Muslim Attacks) Dinner

This is a full transcript of the speech to be given by Fiyaz Mughal OBE at the TELL MAMA annual fundraising dinner on countering anti-Muslim prejudice and hate:

“Secretary of State, Minister of State, Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for attending our second annual fundraising dinner for the TELL MAMA project. The core principles of the TELL MAMA project include measuring, mapping and monitoring anti-Muslim incidents both off-line and on-line. Our work also involves supporting victims of anti-Muslim hate and ensuring access to justice by ensuring that police forces have relevant evidence and statements from victims of anti-Muslim hate crimes. Additionally, partnerships with agencies like Victim Support, who are strongly represented here, local police forces, Citizens Advice Bureaux local offices and local civil society groups up and down the country, have assisted our work. But the greatest asset to our work has been the British public, a public who inherently dislike hate, intolerance and injustice. That has been one of the greatest assets to our work and we must celebrate this important fact that is so left out of discussions on hate crime work. Take for example, the 58 year old woman who was worried about her Somali neighbours and the abuse that they were getting. Edith picked up the phone and called us to inform us that she was worried about her neighbours who happen to be Muslim and who were being repeatedly abused. Or talk Elizabeth, a young 28 year old who stopped and assisted a young Hijab wearing woman who had been spat at and who was shaken up by the experience. Or take John, who dropped us an e-mail to tell us that he was worried about a Far Right web-site that was promoting vile anti-Muslim hatred and violence. These are very real examples where you, the British public have made a real difference to the lives and dare I say, to the perception of victims.

Yet, for all that is good, there is also a downside. Before, I go into this further, I also must add that today, in a Europe where the Far Right are making gains in places like France and where in Germany, Turkish Muslim people have been targeted and killed, or in Italy where Far Right fascist groups hang around railway platforms in major exit and entry points into the city, we should be truly grateful that we live in the United Kingdom. You see, I travel and speak in Europe on the mapping, measuring and monitoring of anti-Muslim hatred and the stories that I hear of attacks on Muslims on the European mainland are shocking. Inverting the remark made against Michael Howard, as an island nation, there is something, not of the night about us as citizens, but of something of the day. It seems we are intrinsically built to reject hatred and to rejecting the narratives of hate. This is a strength, a resource, an asset and something that can be built on and this is something we should not forget. In this sense, I think that we are unique in Britain and this should be celebrated, instead we have some people who consistently put down our country.

So what have we achieved?

Our achievements have been many this year, from assisting over 800 people in the last year through casework, advice and assistance, signposting and working with police, through to over 120 arrests that we were involved with, directly or indirectly. We have provided training to police forces in London and beyond on understanding the language and rhetoric of anti-Muslim hatred and we have been working with some police and crime commissioners in working through their hate crime plans. Furthermore, we have held over 80 community information sessions since we also fully understand that there are no real legal remedies in many cases and results can be achieved by people helping themselves. This means that we have directly reached out to about 2,000 people in our front-line community engagement work.

Community engagement work has therefore been at the forefront of our work and this is something that we will be widening in 2014 depending on resources. In particular, raising the confidence of Muslim women in something that is a key target for us in 2014, since our data and other external triangulating data sets show that visible Muslim women are the ones that are targeted at a street level. For Muslim men, anti-Muslim hatred seems to be more at an institutional level from the cases that we have come across, though again, informing them of their rights can significantly create change through self-empowerment. We have also worked with local taxi associations and in Rotherham for example, we worked with the local authority, local taxi associations and late night catering outlets. Many of these individuals and workers have suffered anti-Muslim and racist abuse from people who have had too much to drink and who cannot wait in line to get that take away after a heavy night of drinking. In fact, many taxi drivers and fast food workers simply shrug off the abuse and hate and carry on knowing that their income or their job may be at stake if they respond. Many also do not have the time or the inclination to report into the local police. You see, this is the cycle that many live through and I commend Rotherham Borough Council under the leadership of Cllr Mahroof Hussain for producing a Taxi Driver’s Handbook which is a useful guide to drivers. It provides information on hate crime reporting and reflects on what to do if taxi drivers come across vulnerable young people. In fact, Rotherham has become one of the beacon areas where we have seen collective and well-co-ordinated action from the South Yorkshire Police force and the local authority to stamp out hate crimes by raising reporting-in levels. TELL MAMA has been one of those key partners over the last year and the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, has led the way on hate crime action with Cllr Hussain.

At the on-line level, one of the most difficult and complex pieces of work have been troll accounts on Twitter, set up to harass and consistently promote anti-Muslim hate. When TELL MAMA started in March 2012 we came into a ‘free for all’ in the Twitter sphere where hundreds of Twitter accounts were pouring out anti-Muslim hatred on a daily basis. After two years of meetings and talks with Twitter, we have seen a significant change in their position which we commend and welcome. Twitter have become far more receptive to suspending or shutting accounts that consistently violate their rules and we have seen a marked shift in the speed of their action and the receptiveness of them to organisations like TELL MAMA. This is a significant change from the initial starting position that they had 2 years ago when we repeatedly heard that it was the belief of key people in Twitter in San Francisco, that the internet and social media police itself. This change has come about not only because of our engagement, but because of co-ordinated civil society action. Saying this, freedom of speech must be protected and it is the ‘freedom to hate’ and the consistent misuse of Twitter accounts to continuously promote hate, which we have challenged through some social media accounts. So free speech purists – take some heart, this fundamental right is not being threatened, nor should it be in a pluralistic and open society.

So what do we know over the last 12 months?  Well we know that:

-        International or national incidents spike anti-Muslim hate, whether off-line or on-line and this was evident after the brutal murder of drummer Lee Rigby. (This will be further highlighted in our forthcoming 2013 /2014 annual report released in early July which will show the significant spike and Teesside University have been independently number crunching and analysing the data. We should also note that this corresponds to what the Community Security Trust saw when the attack on Gaza took place in 2009 – a significant rise and spike in anti-Semitic attacks in the United Kingdom and Europe.)

  • We know that at a street level, visible Muslim females are the ones targeted and those wearing the Hijab or the Hijab and the Niqab. Worryingly, women who wore the Niqab stated that they had suffered repeated anti-Muslim hate incidents and where minor assaults had also occurred.
  •  We know that there is a high volume of anti-Muslim hatred on-line and through social media sources. Far Right groups now fixate on Islam and Muslims and have replaced their hatred of anti-Semitism. Yet scratch the surface and the anti-Semitism rears its ugly head from them, so it is not hard to find. We also need to put this into context and mention that there is also a high amount of misogyny through social media platforms like Twitter and women are repeatedly targeted.
  • We know that after the murder of Lee Rigby in May 2014, within 8 weeks over 30 mosques in England and Wales were attacked. Visible Muslim institutions became a focal point, yet the police and law enforcement agencies worked tirelessly in patrolling key mosques.
  • We know that Pavlo Lapshyn, a Ukrainian self-radicalised neo-Nazi, killed Mohammed Saleem in April 2013 and placed 3 bombs in mosques in Walsall, Tipton and Wolverhampton. Bizarrely, Pavlo’s father claims that one of Pavlo’s grandmothers was a Tatar, a Turkic group who are predominantly Muslim.

-       Our latest Teesside University report will also show two further indicators from the data over the last year. It will show that about 30% of the cases received last year involved a perpetrator who was from a Far Right group and this once again brings into focus how a small group of activists can create a higher impact than their presence through the use of the Internet. This is worrying.

Additionally, the Teesside report will show that out of the cases last year, about 1 in 6 people reported to the police and to TELL MAMA. This means that 5 in 6 did not report the incident to the police and this is worrying. Yet, taken together, the police data and data from TELL MAMA are still not an accurate representation as to the actual amount of anti-Muslim hate crime taking place; they are merely indicators due to high levels of under-reporting. 

So what does the future hold?

The TELL MAMA project has not been an easy concept to start and to maintain, especially when other Muslim groups have accused us of being too liberal since we have advocated for gay rights, against anti-Semitism and when you here, today reflect our vision. In this room today, we have Shia, Sunni, Ahmaddiya, Ismaili and Sufi Muslims, straight and gay Muslims, Christians, Jews and those of no faith. We have members of our armed forces, police officers who happen to be Muslim and many others. You make up society and this is why 2014 will be a year where we mainstream work on anti-Muslim prejudice by placing anti-Muslim hatred work in the same umbrella as other protected strands. This is also why we have reached out to great campaigners like Peter Tatchell and where our co-Chair is one of the most respected and experienced hate crime specialists we have in the country today. We are honoured to have Richard Benson lead and head up our team and we applaud the support that the Community Security Trust have given to us. Hats off to our Jewish brothers and sisters for their inspiration, their strength and their courage. Thank you Richard, Mike and Dave.

And for those out there who think that ‘we’ are some shadowy organisation planning an ‘Islamic takeover’ by stealth, the ‘we’ are 4 people. Yes, 4 people covering the whole country and who have committed themselves to building the foundations of this work. In the process we have been libelled, smeared, abused, threatened, spat at, maliciously trolled and hated by the Far Right and others.

With limited resources, we have striven to dothe right thing, but this is not about us. This work is about those victims, it is about Khadija, Zuleha and Shazia and their experiences listed in the booklet on your tables. It is also about ensuring that we try and build a better society, one in which no-one has to suffer because of their identity.

And there is a further call from us. This work has involved one step forward and 2 steps back. It has been a huge learning curve for us, not made easier by a small number within Muslim communities adding to the paranoia of Far Right sympathisers who believe that there is a secret Islamic take-over of this country. Calls for the ‘flag of Islam’ to fly over buildings, calls for beheadings, abuse at so called ‘apostates’ and threats around cartoons do not help anyone and are simply disgraceful and are fuel for the conspiracy theorists of the Far Right.

We have also learnt that taking on the Far Right head on does not achieve anything nor does taking on a handful of press outlets who have remained sceptical and on occasions hostile to our work. To them, we say, let us turn the page and work together to get this work right since if we do that, we can challenge real notions of victimhood and anger that can isolate the person feeling them from their local communities.

Most of all, if there is anything that the last year as taught us, it is that there is a great deal of work to be done. The murder of Lee and Mohammed Saleem should be a wake-up call for us, that there are those who hate enough to murder on our streets. Their zeal and hate may be strong but collectively our purpose is greater and stronger. We have good on our side, a desire to protect dignity and life and a purpose based on equal rights for all. So our message to those who believe that they are superior, that they have a right to abuse others is this. You are the tiny minority in our country, you are part of the problem and not the solution. Collectively and only through collective action can we challenge these people, whether inspired by hate for a faith or believers of that faith or through hate for our free and liberal society. So, my team of 4 will continue on that journey, and we hope that is a journey we can do together. THANK YOU

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