Middle East Eye Peddles Conspiracy Theories Against Muslims Challenging Corbyn’s Antisemitism

We received correspondence from the Middle East Eye (MEE) web-site which was not only bizarre, it promoted a conspiratorial line of questioning where the journalist explicitly made a link between Government support to counter extremism and promote shared values through the Building Stronger Britain Together (BSBT) programme and how “the government is using public funds to support political attacks on the leader of the opposition”. This is what the journalist, (Simon Hooper), wrote in his e-mail – that there was a covert plan by Government to attack the leader of the opposition. It was suggested by him that Faith Matters and Muslims Against Antisemitism (MAAS) were involved in this conspiracy theory.

Given the nature of his questions, we wanted to stipulate the following publicly, (unlike groups like Middle East Eye who have repeatedly deflected questions on where their funding comes from).

Faith Matters has received no funding from the Prevent programme, unlike other groups who have been heavily funded and who continue to deny that funding whilst working with Muslim communities. At the very least these organisations should be open about it, as it tackles risk to our communities and country. We have received no social media training via the Home Office, unlike other organisations and we are proud to have developed Muslims Against Antisemitism, which receives no Government funding. Furthermore, we have received no assistance in counter-messaging from the Home Office.

Hooper’s theory that the Government is funding an anti-Corbyn campaign is not only perverse, it brings into question how such a twisted conspiracy could have been formulated.

Faith Matters has responded to the allegation and line of questioning in the below manner (in bold), which Middle East Eye journalist, Simon Hooper, purposefully claims he is not going to cite in his e-mail to us. It was the explicit comment below that he was instructed to use as our response and which he says he is not going to. So, the question we ask, is why not? Why is the Middle East Eye not willing to be transparent about its own funding or which state that money emanates from?

The response we gave him was:

“Given the irony that it is MEE who are apparently the beneficiary of political or State funding, it would be wholly inappropriate for us to provide any response to your unfounded and potentially defamatory assertions.”

MEE’s Simon Hooper Who Contacted Faith Matters With the Conspiracy Theory

Instead, by-passing our explicit statement, Hooper said that he would use a statement that was marked as private and confidential by our solicitor. Breaking a trust, (hardly good practice from from a journalist), he stated in an e-mail that he would use the following comment from our defamation and libel solicitor:

“Faith Matters received (BSBT support) from the Home Office and acts without fear or favour in its criticisms of anyone including politicians or political parties whose words or actions risk stirring up anti-religious hatred. It does so, and will continue to do so, from wherever such words or actions emanate”.

The BSBT programme is separate to the counter-terrorism strategy and was developed to build resilient communities against all forms of extremism. We utilized that funding to counter far right and online extremism and promote civil society and democratic engagement to young people, hardly any secretive ploy to attack Jeremy Corbyn.

Given that a number of our staff have been subjected to repeated and long-term threats, intimidation and abuse, we made a decision not to highlight this support publicly, but did do so to partner organisations and those working within the anti-extremism (far right) activities, so that they were aware. This is perfectly reasonable given the long term threats to colleagues and to our organisation, including threats to mob our offices by anti-Muslim activists.

Faith Matters has been and will continue to be critical of the poor way in which antisemitism has been tackled within the Labour Party and the way that Jeremy Corbyn has linked up with groups who have a very poor track record of relationships with communal Jewish organisations. Correspondingly, we have consistently been critical of the Conservative Party and their lack of transparency and action around stamping out anti-Muslim bigotry within parts of their membership base. Notably, Middle East Eye have missed this element out and focused on the former. 

It is also interesting to note what respected BBC journalist Daniel Sandford said of the Middle East Eye in August 2019:

“The story about the Home Office secretly funding the “This is woke” social media brand was brought to us by Middle East Eye, whose funder is unknown. Sigh. They are all at it.”

He then added:

“Basically what you do is run a “news” or “issues” web-site or brand. Put all kinds of content interesting to your target audience on it, and then slip in hidden messages or a deliberate editorial slant.”

Sandford clearly understood MEE is about.

Financing of Middle East Eye

Little information can be found on the funding sources of Middle East Eye. David Hearst, the MEE’s editor in Chief who was a former foreign correspondent for The Guardian has refused to highlight where the site’s financing comes from. He has previously stated that it comes from “individual private donors”. So much for the transparency that they try and enforce on others.

Hearst has previously written articles somewhat fawningly entitled, “It’s open season on the Muslim Brotherhood” and “Why the West Cannot Afford to Ignore Political Islam”.

In an article for Middle East Monitor (MEMO) in February 2019, Hearst commented on the cancelling of a Parliamentary room booked for the controversial Chris Williamson MP where the film ‘WitchHunt’, sympathetic to Labour activist Jackie Walker was to be shown. Hearst stated:

“The debate about antisemitism in the Labour Party is all about Israel, and whether indeed anti-Zionism is antisemitic”.

He also went onto add:

“The problem lies with the Board of Deputies (of British Jews) which claims to speak for all Jews in Britain. These are the leaders who have appointed themselves judge, jury and hangman in each and every allegation of antisemitism”.

For Hearst to reject what was at its heart calls to tackle antisemitism in Labour, betrays any empathy or understanding for Jewish Members of Parliament like Luciana Berger, Louise Ellman or Ruth Smeeth MP.

Additionally, Hearst’s attack on a respected communal organization where Board members are elected and held accountable by members of Jewish communities, was not only uncalled for, it deflected from the abhorrent and misjudged comments by Walker who previously said:

“In terms of Holocaust Day, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust Day was open to all people who experience Holocaust?”

This seems like a noble sentiment and when challenged that Holocaust Memorial Day included other genocides such as Rwanda and Srebrenica, she stated that it was not ‘advertised’ as such – which was patently untrue.

The Director of Middle East Eye – Jamal Bassasso

Al Jazeera (AJ) connections with Middle East Eye also should raise eyebrows as to who finances this outlet? The Director of Middle East Eye Ltd is Jamal Bassasso who was a former director of planning and human resources at Al Jazeera. It is also known that Jonathan Powell, who worked with Al Jazeera since 2009, was one of the founding members who supported the infrastructural set up of Middle East Eye. Powell worked for around 6 months to support the set up of MEE before returning to Doha to carry on his work for Al Jazeera.

Bassasso was a former director for  Samalink, which in turn was the registered agent for the website of the Hamas linked Al Quds TV. Hamas’ antisemitism is well known, and let us not forget that Hamas recently saluted Jeremy Corbyn for his support for a pro-Palestinian rally in which a speaker stated that Jewish organisations are ‘in the gutter’ and are ‘part of the problem’.

Al Jazeera and the state that funds it (Qatar), through its associations with some of the individuals mentioned above need to be highlighted. Remember this is the same state (Qatar) that gave sanctuary to one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s religious leadership, one Yusuf-Al-Qaradawi, who has been barred entry into the UK. It is precisely individuals like Qaradawi who have promoted antisemitism where he has issued fatwas authorizing attacks on all Jews. On Al-Jazeera Arabic in January 2009, he said:

“Oh God, take Your enemies, the enemies of Islam….oh God, take the treacherous Jewish aggressors….Oh God, count their numbers, slay them one by one and spare none”.

It is precisely this kind of hatred that Muslims Against Antisemitism (MAAS) was developed to challenge. Individuals like Qaradawi who were previously feted by the likes of Ken Livingstone need to be challenged and when leaders like Corbyn attend events in Doha in 2012, where in an interview with the Iranian state funded Press TV, he praised his ‘brothers’ – some of whom were speakers from questionable organisations, MAAS will challenge and hold to account such two faced leadership. At this very conference was Khaled Meshaal, Hamas’ political voice and Dr Abdul Aziz Umar who was given seven life sentences for his role in a Jerusalem suicide bombing.

So let’s be clear; Corbyn’s approach on tackling antisemitism has been abysmal and duplicitous. Until Jewish members and individuals feel that they have a home in Labour and until they feel that the leadership demonstrates tackling this hate, we will continue to critique this kind of behaviour. Attempts by sites like Middle East Eye to intimidate and bully us will not be tolerated. Muslims Against Antisemitism will continue to speak out as will Faith Matters which was founded on building better relations between Muslims and Jews; this is something that we know Corbyn has yet to enact through his actions. Instead he chooses to play off one community against the other.

Many Labour MP’s and members support our work. They have done so for many years and they continue to do so because we have challenged those who seek to divide and play off communities.

Finally, conspiracy theories suggesting that the BSBT programme is a covert mechanism to undermine Corbyn through not-for-profit organisations is not only perverse, it reeks of conspiracies that form the bedrock of parts of the hard left today. We don’t need to be critical of Corbyn or Boris Johnson for that matter because of a ‘higher’ plan. It is pretty simple; Corbyn has failed Labour and the leadership needed by many. This country needs a strong opposition. It needs a Labour Party that can hold the Executive and the Government to account, particularly at this turbulent time. For us, it is clear that Corbyn has fallen short of providing that.

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Categories: Al Jazeera, anti-Semitism, Antisemitism, counter-extremism, Islamism, Jamal Bassasso, Jeremy Corbyn, Middle East Eye, Opinions, Qatar, Simon Hooper, UK Government

Bristol City investigate pro-Tommy Robinson, racist chants at Luton fans

Bristol City has launched an investigation into allegations of racist and anti-Muslim chants from a small section of supporters during the club’s 3-0 defeat away at Luton Town on Saturday.

The chants are said to have praised Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson), referred to Luton as “a small town in Asia”, amid other chants of “You’re not English anymore”,  and the racialised slur “paedo”.

Steve Lansdown, chairman of Bristol City, condemned the racist abuse, adding that those responsible “will be banned from Ashton Gate and from purchasing tickets at future away matches”.

The club statement added that supporters of both clubs are assisting with the investigation.

Jon Lansdown, the club’s vice-chairman, condemned the racist abuse on Twitter.

Fans were quick to condemn the anti-Muslim and Islamophobic chants. One supporter tweeted, “minority of the away support was embarrassing- shouting paedo and singing Tommy Robinson’- next time stay away we don’t want you in our club”.

Some condemned supporters who were in denial about the extreme, far-right politics and thuggery of Yaxley-Lennon, and that some chants were indeed racist.

Local journalists have exposed sections of the Bristol City fanbase which have attended far-right marches before, notably with the Football Lads Alliance in 2017.

One Bristol City fan, writing on Facebook, described how they left the game with twenty minutes remaining, citing their disgust at the “Asian/England/Tommy Robinson” chants, adding that a fellow supporter assaulted them when leaving.

Tell MAMA continues to document how the far-right (and those influenced by their narratives and ideology) have continued to exploit high-profile criminal CSE convictions to push a divisive and racialised narrative which targets Muslims more broadly, despite evidence on the ethnicity of perpetrators being subject to various caveats, and methodological concerns.

Tell MAMA has documented other examples of anti-Muslim and Islamophobic abuse of Muslim football fans, including at Salford FC last August.

Kick It Out has an online form and apps on Google Play and iOS to report racism and discrimination in football.

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.


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Categories: Bristol City, football, Luton, News, Tommy Robinson

Female passenger spat in the face of Muslim woman after shouting abuse on London bus

A Muslim woman was shouted at and called “f*cking Muslim scum” and threatened by a female passenger who said they would follow her and “rip her f*cking hijab off” when on a bus in south London.

Speaking to Tell MAMA, she described how this passenger had first accused her, without evidence, of ‘pushing’ a woman with a pushchair before her language morphed into paroxysms of anti-Muslim and Islamophobic abuse.

Other hateful slurs shouted included “f*cking Muslim b*tch” and the threat of showing “your f*cking hair to everyone”.

When she attempted to exit the bus, the perpetrator, who was in front of her, spat in her face as she exited the bus, and then ran off. After the initial shock passed, she called the police and reported the hate crime.

Tell MAMA is now liaising with the Metropolitan Police on their behalf regarding this hate crime which occurred on October 8.

She described the perpetrator as being a black female in their early twenties.

Tell MAMA did see a drop in assaults recorded in the 2018 reporting cycle, with 98 verified reports (13 per cent), down from the 2017 figure of 149.

The report, however, cautioned that “the rising instances of discrimination, hate speech, and anti-Muslim literature indicate that a more general intolerance and hatred is growing”.

It also found that forty-four per cent of the total victims who contacted Tell MAMA were wearing a hijab or other veiling practice when incidents occurred.

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.


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Categories: bus, hate crime, Hijab, London, News, TFL

The Qur’an grants freedom of religion, so why are ex-Muslims so stigmatised?

By Elizabeth Arif-Fear

There is no compulsion in religion” (2:456) – the words stand loudly and clearly. In chapter two, verse 256 of the Qur’an – the holy book for Muslims – it’s declared that we all have the freedom to believe as we wish. Through these words, we are reminded that submission to Allah (God) is for His sake alone. However, in reality, things aren’t as clear cut.

In the US, whilst the number of converts to Islam is rising, so too is the number of people leaving Islam. According to a 2014 study, around a quarter of those raised as Muslim no longer identified as Muslim. Here in the UK, the Council of Ex-Muslims has over 5,700 members.

However, whilst in recent years public discussion around leaving Islam has increased, attitudes do not have appeared to have developed much in the process. Instead, the topic of leaving Islam still remains a taboo, shrouded in silence and “shame” for those who choose to no longer identify as Muslim.

Despite the Qur’anic ruling on freedom of the belief, with Wahhabi-style teachings based on the hadith: “Whoever changes his religion, put him to death” (Bukhari), along with additional socio-cultural attitudes and political tensions, leaving Islam more often than not ceases to be a personal decision around belief and identity. Instead, for many ex-Muslims, leaving the faith becomes a nightmare filled with stigma, rejection and even the threat to one’s life.

In 12 countries across the globe, leaving Islam is punishable by death, with blasphemy in Pakistan a capital offence. Whilst here in the UK, we are protected by law, those leaving Islam can often still face isolation and abuse.

Wanting to find out more, we spoke to three ex-Muslims from different national and cultural backgrounds to see how their “transition” had been received by their loved ones and community and to understand the challenges they face (d). Here are their stories.



Khaled was born in the Maghreb, where he grew up and has to-date spent most of his life. He now lives in the UK after spending further time in Europe. This is his experience as a new ex-Muslim, having recently left Islam.


I am a North African Arab-Amazigh man who was brought up in a very conservative family. From a very young age, I had doubts about Islam. I remember my uncle talking to me about a very angry God who would punish me with hellfire if I didn’t believe in him.

After thinking carefully about this picture of God, I believed He was evil – so I wanted to kill him and stop the utter misery I believed He was causing. Those doubts later “calmed down” because I had no option but to conform otherwise I’d have been deemed a kafir [translated in their case as “infidel”].

My inner “wake-up moment” then happened when I moved to Europe and met many non-Muslims – who I realised were just human beings like us. This was contrary to what the clerics told me: that Europeans are kafirs who would all be in hell because they didn’t say shahadah [the Islamic declaration of faith]. Whilst in Europe, I investigated Islam further and later came to the conclusion that I believed Islam to be a man-made religion.

For me, being a Muslim was unfortunately an experience of losing myself to please a hypocritical society. Some Muslims face a lot of challenges in terms of coercion and pressure. Now, having only recently left Islam, I’ve found that the transition has not been easy because I still can’t tell any of my family or friends (except a very few trusted people). I instead have to pretend that I’m Muslim otherwise I’ll be disowned. However, it’s not a fear of rejection that is holding me back from telling them but the fear of losing my family forever. I instead wish that every child in the world could decide what to believe for themselves and that their parents wouldn’t dictate what they should or should not believe in.

Since I left the dogmatism of my community, I now feel much closer to the universe/God/ Goddess – more than I have done so before in fact. I’m also glad to be living in the UK because in my home country, being an ex-Muslim can be incredibly challenging. In order to not offend my parents, have to pretend to pray [in the traditionally Sunni-Islamic way]. I also still have to go to the mosque to pray, yet I try to get over the distress that not having a choice causes by doing my own personal prayers there – prayers which appeal to my new beliefs.

Here in the UK however, I have the freedom to be who I want to be. This is impossible in such a very conservative society where extremist beliefs are encouraged by the totalitarian regime.

In terms of moving forward, I would therefore like all Muslims to learn to accept ex-Muslims – we’re not evil people. My advice to other ex-Muslims is also to be at peace with Muslims. I hold no negativity for my Muslim brothers or sisters. Before, I had very ignorant thoughts about LGBT+ and Jewish people but now I believe in “live and let live”, so I’ll make sure to make friends from all walks of life without judging anyone as I carve out a new future.

Jimmy Bangash

Jimmy is a gay ex-Muslim human rights activist. He is British-born and of Pashtun heritage. Jimmy is now spokesperson for the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and contributing author to the book ‘Leaving Faith Behind’. Additionally, he is the resident life coach at Free Heart Free Minds where he provides one-to-one coaching and mental health support to ex-Muslims in Muslim-majority countries.


For many gay men in Muslim communities, coming to terms with their sexuality can be a harrowing experience.  My experience is typical of many others.

Homosexuality is espoused as a major sin in mainstream Islam and much of the community espouse the death sentence for this criminal behaviour.  After such death, a lifetime of eternal torture then awaits gay men, whilst during their mortal life one must fear violence and intimidation at the hands of their nearest and dearest; including direct family.  Frequently, a forced apostasy takes places where the person is told they are “not Muslim” if they are gay.

Those, like myself, who manage to avoid any physical violence are often shunned and disowned.  We are cast out from the community and told that we will only be welcomed back if we subscribe to a heterosexual life. This shunning – which is an act to coerce conformity –can, in the West, afford the individuals space away from Islam (a faith they no longer believe in and therefore do not wish to live by).

When I was disowned by my family, I was able to place Islam under scrutiny in a way that I could not when I was within the Muslim community.  I asked questions such as: “Why would an immortal being choose to torture people for eternity?” and “Why would an omnipotent being [supposedly] place a verse in the Qur’an which sanctions beating your wife in certain conditions?” [Editor’s note: We do not share this view].  These are questions that would be silenced within the community or satiated (with what I considered to be) nothing more than apologist answers.  Far away from community indoctrination and threats, I was able to see that for me the religion was nothing more than a patriarchal mechanism, designed to control people.

Stepping out of the closet as a gay man and into an authentic identity, living a life full of integrity – for being true to myself and my sexuality – caused the wrath of my community to descend on me.  Stepping out of the closet again and declaring that for me Islam was false and that it had many sinister, misogynistic and homophobic teachings was no different.

No one should have to live a single closeted life – let alone two.

Religious adherence is rendered meaningless if the consequence for apostasy is violence, intimidation and death.

Amir Rahman*

Amir is a British-Pakistani male who was born and bred in the UK. He does not identify as ex-Muslim but instead as culturally Muslim. He shares his story of theological change which led him – after being brought up as a Muslim – to no longer believing in God.


I was brought up by two Barelvi-leaning Sunni Muslims parents. As a child, I was taught to read the Qur’an in Arabic by an elderly British-Indian Muslim lady. Whilst I learnt how to read Qur’anic Arabic, I never understood anything I was reading.

Even as a child, I use to question my parent’s decisions. They always said to me when I asked about Islam: “This is what God wants”. Years later, I then found out that my grandfather was upset that I was taught the Qur’an by a woman – and not a man.

I later remember at the age of about ten or 11, learning about Shia Muslims and asking my mum how as Sunnis we were different from Shia Muslims. She explained the Sunni-Shia divide the best a mother could do with a 10-year-old. It is important to note that she didn’t tell me about the Shia commemoration of Ashura and events in KarbalaIt was here that I remember thinking, well both sects can’t be right at the same time! I, however, didn’t pay much attention to this and carried on with my life. I wasn’t a particularly religious child – I only ever prayed on Fridays (on days I wasn’t at school). Nobody ever forced me to pray. If I was at home from school on Fridays, my mother would simply tell me to pray.

It was later at the age of 15 when I learnt about the details of Karbala and Ashura and how this differed in teachings of Sunni Islam. For me, Ashura is about our link to Moses [as part of one Abrahamic family]. I was therefore saddened to hear that we Muslims killed the grandson of our Prophet. I remember reading about it and trying to find out every bit of information I could. I became obsessed. It was then at the age of 16 that I came to the conclusion that – to my mind – both sects were wrong and that the real Islam died with Hussain ibn Ali. It was during this time that I also found it difficult to believe in Qur’anic stories such as Jonah and the Whale and Moses splitting the Red Sea.

At the age of 17, I subsequently came to the conclusion that for me all of these stories in Islam were not something I believed in and that religion was not for me. I remember telling my father that I no longer believed in God and that religion was not real for me. He looked at me and told me: “That’s fine, just be a good person”. My mother, on the other hand, was upset but then after a week or so of not talking to me, she told me that she still loved me and would pray for me.

As her son, my mother will love me no matter what religion I choose to follow (or not) and whether or not I believe in a god. This is the crucial reason why I DO NOT identify as an ex-Muslim at all. Today, I still practise Islam four days a year – I celebrate the two festivals of Eid, as well as Ashura and Mawlid [the birthday of Prophet Muhammad].

I was brought up by two loving parents who supported the fact that I don’t believe in God and all my positive qualities come from them – and of course, some of those positive qualities were inspired by Sunni Islam. I, therefore, cannot deny my Muslimness, as to do so would be like denying my parents. I am a Muslim and will always be a Muslim.

Whilst this has been a positive experience for me, I am however also very ashamed of the way apostates are treated in Muslim countries. Muslims need to accept that religion – or their faith – is not for everybody. Right-wing Islamist and ultra-orthodox Sunni and Shia narratives need to be challenged. Islam is an ever-growing construct and the Islam we see today is not the same as 100 years ago. As with all religions, our concept of Islam is always evolving and must continue to do so. We, therefore, need to make sure that the Islam we live takes a progress route as we head into the future – a route to a place where apostasy is no longer a stigmatised (even deadly) taboo.


With faith such a personal and individual matter, it’s abhorrent that leaving Islam remains such a difficult challenge. Often met with discrimination and abuse, what should be a personal individual period of reflection has become for many a transition of trauma.

Experiences outside of the UK undoubtedly often differ and – as this article has highlighted – there are also more positive experiences which can provide guidance for families and communities – as well as critical hope for those who wish to leave Islam yet fear the repercussions.

Nonetheless, significant change is required on many levels. This includes critical socio-cultural reforms worldwide (including here in the UK) and legal changes in countries which discriminate and propagate violence against non-Muslims/ex-Muslims. Finally, this also includes a review of how theology is approached, interpreted and defined in certain circles.

For both our brothers and sisters at risk of violence and abuse within legal systems that fails to protect the human rights of individuals, and those closer to home suffering in silence, the overarching attitudes to “apostasy” rely on the same “othering” narratives, negative attitudes and sense of “stigma” and shame. As a global community, we therefore need to support ex-Muslims (and cultural Muslims) as much as possible – starting by having some difficult conversations and not shying away from the issue(s) at hand.

As Muslims, this will require deep introspection and the will to call out ills such as homophobia and misogyny which continue to plague our community. For non-Muslims, this means helping to support and include those who are often left to carve out a new identity and social circle by themselves or with few allies from a similar background.

Whatever our faith or belief system, we need to most-immediately ensure that for people who identify as culturally Muslim or as ex-Muslims, there are sufficient safe spaces, sources of community and support mechanisms to help them in their transition. At the same time – and for the long-term benefit of everyone – we also need to maximise efforts to ensure we carve a more tolerant, safe and inclusive sense of Islam and community which holds space for ex-Muslims, cultural Muslims, non-Muslims and all people alike.

No one should be questioned or made to suffer for their (change of) beliefs. It’s time to start talking and start tackling this critical issue. And: it’s also time to narrow the divide between Muslims and ex-Muslims.

Thank you to all our interviewees for sharing your stories. We stand with you.

Further information:

A further insight into the experiences of ex-Muslims – including Jimmy’s story – can be found in: Mughal, F. and Saleem, A. (2018) “Leaving Faith Behind: The journeys and perspectives of people who have chosen to leave Islam”, Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd.


The views expressed in this blog are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of Faith Matters.

*Names and images have been changed to protect the individuals’ identities

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Categories: Opinions

Taxi driver left shocked after passenger wished to put Muslims inside of a ‘nuclear chamber’

A Muslim taxi driver spoke of his shock and disgust after a passenger, who travelled with their wife and child, had asked him to imagine a scenario where all Muslims were placed inside of a large ‘nuclear chamber’ before the family had arrived at their home.

Speaking to Tell MAMA, the driver, who wishes to remain anonymous, described how he often did his best to ignore the racist abuse he faced from some passengers – including being called a “P*ki” and told to “go home” – but the brazenness of this comment was impossible to ignore.

Working in and around the Stoke-on-Trent area, he added, that racism is a growing problem, noting further shock at how emboldened this individual was when expressing their genocidal fantasy.

Nor did he report the incident to Staffordshire Police, citing a belief that attitudes within the force would hinder or stop an investigation from taking place.

He also spoke of his concern that minorities in the UK are there to be ‘used and abused’, deemed useful when needed and tossed aside when not.

The shocking incident took place on August 24 at around 23:30 GMT.

An important thematic theme explored in Tell MAMA’s recent annual report was how dehumanising language ‘others’ and marginalises minorities.

The report argued that: “Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism, prejudice, and bigotry harms Muslims irrespective of political influence, role in public life, or, as individuals who use social media for everyday matters. Generalised forms of hateful speech serve to dehumanise Muslims by linking them broadly to criminality, sexual violence, and terrorism, by those who apply this maximalist thinking to Islam”. Adding that “The mainstreaming of such language” risks undermining and narrowing undermine “how we view and interpret the fundamental right of religious practice”, and, as the genocides of the twentieth and twenty-first-century show: hate speech and dehumanising language helps to accelerate the conditions for group-based violence. As David Livingstone Smith, professor of philosophy at the University of New England, and director of the Human Nature Project argues: “Dehumanisers do not think of their victims as subhuman in some merely metaphorical or analogical sense. They think of them as actually subhuman”.

Hate speech does, after all, have no fixed definition, but it serves to spread hatred on characteristics like race, faith, and ethnic origin. Mari Matsuda’s seminal response to racist hate speech, published in 1989, articulated how various strands of racism – from the individual to structural or political acts of racism, reinforce the ‘conditions of domination’ as Ricard Delgado noted in 1982, that hate speech and racist language helps to normalise discriminatory practices and behaviours.

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.

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Categories: dehumanisation, hate crime, Hate Speech, News