Fire at mosque ruled as an Islamophobic hate crime, police launch appeal

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are treating a fire at the Al-Falah Masjid Islamic Centre in Cheetham Hill, as an Islamophobic hate crime, and are appealing for information.

Firefighters were alerted to the blaze at 10:31 pm GMT on Sunday evening.

The fire took several hours to contain and caused thousands of pounds of damage.

Iman Maaz Waheed told the Manchester Evening News that the mosque was largely empty when the fire broke out, and nobody was injured.

Mr Waheed also raised concerns about the security of the building but added that it should not be an issue for congregants to cover the cost of repairs.

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed this afternoon (December 11) that the fire is hate crime related.

Detective Inspector Muz Kernain of GMP’s City of Manchester Division said: “Fortunately, no-one was injured in the fire but had it been earlier in the day, this could have been a very different story.

“Attacking a place of worship is truly disgusting and I can assure you we will not be taking this lightly.

“It’s so important we find who has done this – the pain and upset they have caused is deplorable.”

Tell MAMA continues to document incidents and attacks against masjids and other Islamic institutions in the public domain, with over one hundred incidents recorded since May 2013.

We are reissuing our safety tips, having raised concerns yesterday on social that the fire was indeed arson-related.

https://twitter.com/TellMamaUK/status/1072147349659676672

Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting reference number 2220 of 09/12/18 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

The post Fire at mosque ruled as an Islamophobic hate crime, police launch appeal appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: arson, GMP, Greater Manchester Police, hate crime, mosque, mosques, News

Men shouted ‘terrorist’ and ‘P*ki b*stard’ at Muslim woman in niqab

A Muslim woman, who wears the niqab, spoke of her fear after being racially abused and called a “f*cking terrorist” by two men when returning to her car after leaving work.

The incident occurred in the Lancashire area on October 10, Tell MAMA has declined to reveal the precise location of the incident to protect their identity.

One of the men called her a “f*cking terrorist” as she began to climb a stairway into the car park.

The gendered nature of the abuse, coupled with their physical prowess – with each man standing at around 6ft, compared to her smaller stature – at around 5ft, only added to her sense of fear and intimidation which resulted in an increased walking pace.

Before reaching the safety of her vehicle, however, one of the men shouted, “f*cking P*ki b*stard” at her.

The woman, who wears the niqab, is a white convert, and such abuse demonstrates how racialisation is less about the biology of race and more to do with a ‘radical’ form of othering, which, can go beyond hate crime and verbal abuse, and into acts of discrimination that curtail the fundamental rights of Muslims in the UK. For example, in 2017, Tell MAMA documented two cases where Muslim women who wear the niqab were told to remove their face veils when attending school open days with their children as staff cited ‘security reasons’. A clear example of how othering can result in viewing Muslims through the lens of ‘securitisation’.

It’s also a further example of how racialised abuse directed at Muslim women often relates to their outward Islamic identity and reinforces what academics have argued: that some perpetrators make no distinction between Muslims and their faith.

Tell MAMA has continued to document the oftendisproportionate abuse, harassment, and violence Muslim women face for wearing the niqab.

The woman has not reported the incident to Lancashire Police but wanted to report to Tell MAMA in confidence, adding, that since wearing the niqab, has experienced more abuse and harassment: including being sworn at when in supermarkets; such is the everyday ‘low-level’ nature of abuse.

She described the perpetrators as being white males in their late thirties.

A rising number of reports to Tell MAMA – of threatening behaviour, abuse, violence, and discrimination has prompted the release of an interim report, covering the first six months of 2018, further demonstrates the gendered and intersectional nature of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred.

You can get advice through our confidential and free helpline on 0800 456 1226. Or through our free iOS or Android apps. Report through our online form. Or contact us via WhatsApp on 0734 184 6086.

The post Men shouted ‘terrorist’ and ‘P*ki b*stard’ at Muslim woman in niqab appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Lancashire, News, Niqab, racialisation

As election nears, religious tensions surge in an Indian village

Nayabans isn’t remarkable as northern Indian villages go. Sugar cane grows in surrounding fields, women carry animal feed in bullock carts through narrow lanes, people chatter outside a store, and cows loiter.

But this week, the village in Uttar Pradesh state became a symbol of the deepening communal divide in India as some Hindu men from the area complained they had seen a group of Muslims slaughtering cows in a mango orchard a couple of miles away.

That infuriated Hindus, who regard the cow as a sacred animal. Anger against Muslims turned into outrage that police had not stopped an illegal practise, and a Hindu mob blocked a highway, threw stones, burned vehicles and eventually two people were shot and killed – including a police officer.

The events throw a spotlight on the religious strains in places like Nayabans since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power at the national level in 2014 and in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. Tensions are ratcheting up ahead of the next general election, due to be held by May.

The BJP said it was “bizarre” to assume the party would benefit from any religious disharmony, dismissing suggestions that its supporters were largely responsible for the tensions.

“In a large country like India nobody can ensure that nothing will go wrong, but it’s our responsibility to maintain law and order and we understand that,” party spokesman Gopal Krishna Agarwal said. “But people are trying to politicize these issues.”

Nayabans, just about three hour’s drive from Delhi, has about 400 Muslims out of a population of 4,000, the rest are Hindu. Relations between the communities began deteriorating around the Muslim holy month of Ramadan last year when Hindus in the village demanded that loudspeakers used to call for prayer at a makeshift mosque be removed, local Muslims said.

“For 40 years mikes were used in the mosque, calls for prayer were made five times a day, but no one objected,” said Waseem Khan, a 28-year-old Muslim community leader in Nayabans.

“We resisted initially but then we thought it’s better to live in peace then create a dispute over a mike,” he said. “We don’t want to give them a chance to fan communal tensions.”

Reuters spoke with more than a dozen Muslims from the village but except for Khan, no one else wanted to be named for fear of angering the Hindu population.

Several among a group of Muslim women and girls standing outside the mosque said they have been living in fear since the BJP came to power in the state in 2017.

They said that Hindu groups now hold provocative processions through the village during every Hindu festival, loudspeakers blaring, something that used to happen rarely before. They said they felt “terrorised” by Hindu activists.

“While passing through our areas during their religious rallies, they chant ‘Pakistan murdabad’ (down with Pakistan) as if we have some connection to Pakistan just because we are Muslims,” Khan said.

HINDU PRIEST CHIEF MINISTER

The subcontinent was divided into Muslim Pakistan and Hindu-majority India at the time of independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

During the violence on Monday, many Muslims in Nayabans locked themselves in their homes fearing attacks. Some who had attended a three-day Muslim religious congregation some miles away stayed outside the area that night to avoid making themselves targets for the mob.

Muslim villagers say they are particularly fearful of the top elected official in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is a Hindu priest and senior BJP figure. Hindu hardliners started asserting themselves more in the village after he was elected, they say.

Uttar Pradesh sends 80 lawmakers to the lower house of parliament, the largest of any state in the country.

Considered the county’s political crucible, it has also been the scene for spiralling Hindu-Muslim tensions.

Adityanath said the lead up to the rioting in Nayabans was a “big conspiracy”, but did not elaborate.

In the only statement from his office on the incident, Adityanath ordered police to arrest those directly or indirectly involved in the slaughter of cows and made no mention of the death of the police inspector. He announced 1 million rupees ($14,110) as compensation for the family of the other dead man, a local who is among those accused by police for the violence.

Both men were Hindus and died of bullet wounds, although police said it was not yet clear who shot whom.

Police say they have arrested up to five people for the cow slaughter but have not given their religion. Locals say all the arrested people are Muslims. Four Hindu men have been arrested for the violence leading to the deaths.

“All invidious elements who may have conspired to vitiate the situation will be exposed through a fair and transparent investigation,” Anand Kumar, the second highest police official in Uttar Pradesh, told Reuters.

Asked if there was any bias against Muslims, Uttar Pradesh government spokesman Sidharth Nath Singh – who is also the state’s health minister – told Reuters: “We believe in equality and our motto is sabka saath, sabka vikas”, using a Hindi phrase often used by Modi that means “collective effort, inclusive growth”.

RELATIVE HARMONY

The two communities in Nayabans have lived in relative harmony for years, residents from both groups said.

But now Hindus in the village, who mostly say they support Yogi, accuse the Muslims of trying to turn themselves into the victims when they weren’t.

“Can’t believe they are raising our processions with journalists!” said Daulat, a Hindu daily wage labourer who goes by one name. “They are making it a Hindu-Muslim issue, we are not. Their people have been accused of killing cows, so they are playing the victim.”

At a middle school, metres from the police outpost near where the two men got killed, two women teachers, sitting on a veranda soaking in the winter sun, said its 66 students stopped coming for classes in the first few days after the violence.

“We worship cows and their slaughter can’t be accepted,” said one of the teachers, Uma Rani. “Two Hindus died here but nothing happened to the cow killers.”

Both teachers were Hindus.

Political analysts say relations between the two communities are likely to stay tense ahead of the national vote, particularly in polarised states such as Uttar Pradesh.

The BJP made a near-clean sweep in Uttar Pradesh in 2014, helping Modi win the country’s biggest parliamentary mandate in three decades, but pollsters predict a tighter contest next year because of a lack of jobs and low farm prices.

“Facing economic headwinds and lacklustre job growth, Modi will rally his conservative base by selectively resorting to Hindu nationalism,” global security consultancy Stratfor said last month.

Muslims say they increasingly feel like second-class citizens in their own country.

“The BJP will definitely benefit from such incidents,” said Tahir Saifi, a Muslim community leader a few miles from the area of violence who supports a regional opposition party in Uttar Pradesh. “They want all Hindus to unite, and when religion comes into the picture, other issues like development take a back seat.”

The post As election nears, religious tensions surge in an Indian village appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: BJP, India, Narendra Modi, Nayabans, News, Uttar Pradesh

Man shouted ‘black b*stards’ at Muslim women in hospital waiting area

Receptionists at a hospital in Birmingham failed to stop the racial abuse directed at two Muslim women until they were requested to call security.

The women, who both wear the hijab, were in the waiting area when a man shouted: “you don’t belong in this country” and “you shouldn’t be in this country” in their direction.

He continued to abuse the women without challenge from reception staff or members of the public, even when he continued to call them ‘black b*stards’.

One of the Muslim women challenged the abuse and replied: “If you are what represents Britishness, I don’t want to be British”.

The abuse only stopped when one of the women approached the reception desk and requested that security intervene.

The incident occurred on November 17.

A family member of one of the women contacted Tell MAMA and consented to have this story told anonymously.

The racial abuse directed at the women, who are South Asian and not black, demonstrates how racialisation has less to do with biology and more to do with a ‘radical’ form of othering which concerns power relations – be it in institutions, or, in this case, daily interactions. Or, to put it another way: racialisation concerns the political, economic, and political marginalisation of groups due to physical markers and cultural factors.

This form of racialisation, however, is a departure from tradition, where ‘the black-white divide was preeminent’, and demonstrates how the reconstruction of ‘the Asian’ foregrounds a construction of ‘the Muslim’ which overlooks the ethic and cultural diversity of Muslims in Britain. In this framework of ‘othering’ where aspects of political discourse and sensationalist media portrayals further normalise the idea that the beliefs of Muslims are at odds with mainstream society and have become synonymous with ‘deviance’, ‘un-Britishness’ and terrorism. Criminalisation, therefore, preempts empathy with the affected groups.

It’s why Tell MAMA, in its submission on a definition of Islamophobia/anti-Muslim hatred, argued that any understanding must be grounded in the concepts of racialisation and cultural racism.

A rising number of reports to Tell MAMA – of threatening behaviour, abuse, violence, and discrimination has prompted the release of an interim report, covering the first six months of 2018, which has coincided with the above submission.

The perpetrator was described to Tell MAMA as being a white male in his fifties.

We will be writing to the hospital, which we have declined to share publicly to protect the identity of the women, to complain about the conduct of their reception staff.

You can get advice through our confidential and free helpline on 0800 456 1226. Or through our free iOS or Android apps. Report through our online form. Or contact us via WhatsApp on 0734 184 6086.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The post Man shouted ‘black b*stards’ at Muslim women in hospital waiting area appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Birmingham, Hate Speech, News

Understanding Hate Incident Patterns After the Westminster Terrorist Attack of the 22nd of March 2017. Building a Pattern of Community Resilience Against Hate – What Worked?

Click to View

This ground-breaking report is a joint collaboration between Tell MAMA (Measuring anti-Muslim Attacks) and the authors, Ms Kim Sadique, Dr James Tangen and Ms Anna Perowne.

The full report can be found HERE.

 How Hate Can Be Reduced After Terrorist Attacks

The overall aim of this report is to understand post ‘trigger event’ hate incident patterns with a specific focus on the anomalous data following the Westminster terror attack (22nd March 2017). In order to achieve this, the authors undertook a detailed discourse analysis for a period of 2 weeks post Westminster attack between 22nd March 2017 to 5th April 2017 (this timescale is linked to the National 14 Day Plan implemented by the Metropolitan Police). Analysis of hate incident reports provided by Tell MAMA was undertaken and semi-structured interviews were conducted with three hate crime and two journalism professionals to illicit the expert opinions of those working in this field as to why there is a difference between some trigger events and others in terms of hate incident patterns. The report concludes with a list of recommendations that have been devised following interviews with key professionals.

Comments

Speaking about the findings of the report, the Director of Tell MAMA, Iman Atta OBE said:

“This report consolidates and confirms what we know. That there are significant spikes in anti-Muslim hate and bigotry after major national terrorist events, though these can be mitigated by strong local co-ordinated community messaging that is quick, responsive and from the heart of local communities.

 We know after Westminster, that this works and if we are to maintain social cohesion and reduce hate crime impacts, this report provides the first real insight into how this can be done through rapid mobilisation and positive messaging.”

Commenting on the report, the lead researcher and author of the report, Dr Kim Sadique, said:

“This research provides support for previous anecdotal evidence regarding hate incident patterns following ‘trigger’ events such as the EU referendum or terror attacks. Analysis of the data shows clear spikes in online hate between 24-48 hours after a ‘trigger’ event and this then moves offline between 48-72 hours after. Furthermore, it shows that hate incidents are underpinned by the level of emotional connection to the ‘trigger’ event. In what we call the ‘familiar and familial’ effect, the level of empathy or connection felt towards the chosen target influences both the prevalence and severity of hate responses. The more of a connection the public has with the target location or the more they can empathise with the victims, the more likely we are to see hate spikes both online and offline after such ‘trigger’ events (700% increase in ‘street incidents’ in the seven days following the Manchester Arena attack). Westminster was different, the hate spike was not as significant as those following other trigger events. We believe this was because there were clearer counter-narratives immediately after the attack and there appeared to be less emotional attachment by the public to the target location”.

The full report can be found HERE.

Key Recommendations

  1. Government and political parties should provide clear leadership and a distinctive counter-narrative to anti-Muslim sentiments following a potential trigger event

There needs to be a clearer counter-narrative from the Government and/or political parties following a ‘trigger event’ to prevent hate responses. Clear leadership and visibility of Government and/or political parties is crucial from the outset.

  1. All Police Services should implement the National 14-Day Plan in the immediate aftermath of a potential trigger event

The National 14-Day Plan implemented by the Metropolitan Police should be utilised by all Police Services across the UK following terrorist attacks.

  1. Media reporting in the aftermath of a ‘trigger event’ needs to be more balanced and media outlets should be held to account for reporting that is inflammatory or factually inaccurate

The media needs to consider the use of language and images used in reporting ‘trigger events.’

  1. Social media companies should enforce a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards posts that incite hate

Social media companies can respond much faster to posts which incite hatred by blocking/removing the posts/user more quickly.

  1. Muslim communities need to be given a safe platform from which they are able to express their emotions and response to ‘trigger events’, such as terror attacks

Muslim communities should be supported to provide a clear and immediate response to potential ‘trigger events’, particularly terror attacks. Media outlets should ensure a safe platform is provided for legitimate representatives from Muslim communities to be able to speak, without fear of being vilified or collectively blamed for the actions of individuals

  1. Further research must be undertaken to understand the role of emotions in post ‘trigger event’ hate responses

Research should focus particularly on feelings of connection to the event, location and/or victims in addition to patriotic sentiments more generally

The post Understanding Hate Incident Patterns After the Westminster Terrorist Attack of the 22nd of March 2017. Building a Pattern of Community Resilience Against Hate – What Worked? appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: anti-Muslim hate, communities, Hate Crimes, Iman Atta OBE, Kim Sadiq, Messaging, News, reports, terror attacks, Westminster, Westminster Terror Attack

British Imams Demand the Release of Extremist Khadim Hussain Rizvi

On the 30th of November 2018, Deeni News, broadcast this interview with a number of religious leaders based in the United Kingdom. What is so distressing about this interview is that these UK based individuals are demanding the release of violent extremism promoter, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who leads the extremist Tehreek-e-Labaik party in Pakistan. This is not so much a political party, as a group of religious zealots who use force and intimidation against people they regard as ‘blasphemers’.

One of the speakers says the following which is chilling:

“The decision around Asia Masih (Christian), has not only been rejected by the Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP), but all the religious circles in Pakistan and the entire Muslim Ummah has rejected it”.

“Secondly, we strongly condemn the torture and arrest of the leaders of TLP and all other religious leaders. We would like to clarify this to the Government of Pakistan that such acts are disgracing the country and would be damaging for the safety and security of the country.”

What the religious leaders fail to even consider is that the safety of the country has been damaged on numerous occasions by Khadim Hussain Rizvi and the TLP. Their ‘sit-ins‘ have been intimidating, led to the deaths of people and targeted minorities in Pakistan.

They go onto add:

“The issues surrounding Namoos -e-Risalaat, (the honour of the Prophet Muhammad), is not just a problem of one sect or group but a problem of the entire Ummah. Also, because it is a religious issue so it has to be resolved in the Shariah courts.”

 

So, just to summarise the nature of the public conversation. UK based religious leaders have asked for the release of a violence promoting extremist, said that his incarceration is a threat to the security of Pakistan and that the ‘honour’ of the Prophet Muhammad is something that is of global and worldwide concern. They then bring in the need for ‘Shariah’ courts to determine such matters. No doubt, any Shariah court would gleefully let of this extremist.

The post British Imams Demand the Release of Extremist Khadim Hussain Rizvi appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: Asia Bibi, British Imams, Christian, Deeni News, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Masih, Opinions, Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan, TLP

Work Countering Anti-Muslim Bigotry is Human Rights Work

In all of the ongoing debates about ‘definitions’ of ‘Islamophobia’ or ‘anti-Muslim hatred’, there is one simple term that has been lost. That is – the defence of human rights. Muslims, just like any other community have the right to live and be who they want to be without fear, obstruction, prejudice and institutional bigotry.

Now there is also another debate which is subtly raging and that is to push prejudice against Muslims into the realm of racial protections and no-one has discussed this. These provide a lower threshold for, say public order offences, to have additional sentencing added on because there was a racial bias to the crime. It is clear that there are intersectional elements between race and anti-Muslim bigotry in some cases and that cannot be denied. It is a fact. However, in all of the nuanced, sometimes confrontational ideological and academic positions, the reality that the work is based on the fundamental protection of equality and human rights is overlooked.

Within criminal and civil law, anti-Muslim and intra-Muslim bigotry are covered. Whilst there is a real need for a definition to provide a working framework moving forward, let us not forget that at the root of work countering anti-Musim bigotry and for some, Islamophobia, is the defence of basic human rights. These are universal and non-negotiable.

 

The post Work Countering Anti-Muslim Bigotry is Human Rights Work appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: anti-Muslim hatred, definition, human rights, Opinions, Racial Bias

If you can’t as a Persecuted Christian Get Asylum in the UK, then Something Warped is Happening

The Times reports today that the lawyer for persecuted Christian, Asia Bibi, has lambasted the Prime Minister and asked that she stand up for persecuted Christians.

The lawyer, Saif ul-Malook, questioned why the Government had not provided asylum for Asia Bib and stated that the Christian world campaigned for Asia and has now turned its back on her.

The Asia Bibi case has already demonstrated that Pakistan is teetering on the verge of being held ransom to religious Islamist zealots. Yet, for Britain to deny asylum to a woman who has spent 8 years in jail because of trumped up charges of blasphemy, shows that there is a drift in this country towards ‘risk management’ whilst at the expense of the lives of the most vulnerable.

The Asia Bibi possibly shows how weak our own country has become in the face of ‘risk’ and in going out of its way to ensure that other communities and cohesion are not blighted. What it seems to many people, is that a beleaguered woman, persecuted for being a Christian, is being thrown under the bus by a majority Christian nation in the hope that her presence does not affect the status quo.

Asia Bibi deserves asylum in the United Kingdom and any individuals or groups who dislike that notion should consider what their values are based on and their space in our country. Anything short of asylum for Asia Bibi means that we no longer care about the sick and the weak. Also, if it turns out that advice has been given to the Prime Minister that Asia’s presence in the UK would be a security risk, this should be exposed and challenged all the way. There is no reason why Asia Bibi should not be with us.

The post If you can’t as a Persecuted Christian Get Asylum in the UK, then Something Warped is Happening appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: Asia Bib, Christians, Islamist extremists, Opinions, Pakistan, Persecution, Prime Minister, Saif ul-Malook