Shropshire Police debunk malicious tweet about a mosque ‘ignoring’ the coronavirus lockdown

Shropshire Police and other Twitter users have debunked a malicious tweet which claimed that a ‘mosque in Shrewsbury’ was ignoring the coronavirus lockdown.

The offending tweet, published on March 26, from a user who claimed ‘to have spoken to the mosque’ and was ‘horrified’ to find that it was still open, adding that the people inside could be ‘super spreaders’ of the virus, and urged the police to act.

Credit: Twitter.

The Shrewsbury Muslim Centre, however, has continued to observe the lockdown since the government’s advice changed earlier this month. In a statement published on March 19, the centre added, as with many places of worship, spoke of their acute concern about the virus and would, therefore, cease holding Friday (Jummah) prayers until further notice.

Credit: Shrewsbury Muslim Centre.

Shropshire Police tweeted yesterday evening that “Probably because there is no Mosque in Shrewsbury. There is a prayer centre & it has been checked and is fully compliant with the current government requirements.”

Other Twitter users condemned the flagrant attempt at stirring up anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia, writing, “Shropshire Police thanks for standing up in favour off against the hater who want to pour petrol and stir up tensions in the community.” One user added that “There isn’t a mosque in Shrewsbury ya daft racist,” as another user replied, “You’re a super spreader of lies and racism.”

Some condemned the user for wasting police time and resources, adding that, “Wasting police time, Russ. You’re nowhere near my town. Thank goodness.”

The tweet did attract attention from a plethora of nationalist and far-right accounts, but a clear majority of the replies condemned the malicious tweet.

When asked what they were going to do about such hateful conduct, Shropshire Police replied that it had been “all duly recorded & reported.”

Tell MAMA urges users to report the malicious tweet, as others have done so. We welcome the quick debunking by Shropshire Police and others who challenged this malicious and inflammatory tweet.

You can get advice from 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 Shropshire Police debunk malicious tweet about a mosque ‘ignoring’ the coronavirus lockdown appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Shropshire Police

Science and Islam: A Very Modern Conflict?

By Rashad Ali


From wild conspiracy theories to denial of the extent of the spread of the disease known as Covid19, to zealous and dangerous displays of religious fervour, to behaviour betraying complete ignorance of maintaining safe distancing across Muslim countries and even in the UK irrational edicts have lead to Mosques endangering their communities by holding Friday congregational prayer against government scientific advice and a plethora of sensible Muslim edicts.

In fact Western Sociologists have pointed out this is against the spirit of prophetic teaching. But this doesn’t take away from age old debate about the assumed irrationality of religion and the religiously minded versus progressive secularists or even challenging the faith of believers due to the obstinate responses of their Faith’s, Islam and others.

The Debate Around Religion and Science

In light of the above the debate about Science and Islam, and the place of empirical thought, scientific methodology and knowledge, and the relationship or antagonism with Islam is still an important discussion for believers and wider society alike. Whether this is an antagonism essential to the faith tradition. Or a manifestation of contemporary fundamentalism? Or something decidedly more complicated? With this in mind the following short essay seeks to address these questions.

The debate surrounding religion and science is certainly not one unfamiliar to either scientists or religious people. Nor is it by any means a new debate. Nor is it a debate that exists exclusively vis-à-vis Islam and science or in Eastern societies alone. Hence the debate itself does not really require an introduction. It is however still a relevant one, which has led in recent times to various conflicts in the intellectual, political and religious realms.

A number of popular books on the subject start by suggesting an intrinsic harmony between science and religion in general. There’s ‘Pathfinders – The Golden Age of Arabic Science’[1], authored by respected scientist, mathematician and physicist Jim al-Khalili[2], which discusses the development, definition, and application to astounding results, of early Arab, often Muslim scientists in the pre-modern era. A book by the Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks[3], ‘The Great Partnership – God, Science and the Search for Meaning’[4], also seeks to demonstrate that, at least from within the Jewish tradition, there has been a necessary interdependency and healthy respect for science and all things scientific. Sacks also argues a necessary neurological and psychological relationship between the two methods and styles of thinking used by different sides of the brain.[5]

That’s not to say the other side of the debate hasn’t also been forcefully put forward by respected scientists and thinkers, all seeking to demonstrate the retarding effect that religion has had on people’s perceptions of reality, science, and even what they see as basic facts. Most well-known – or notorious depending on where you stand on the debate – is renowned author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins[6] in his various books including ‘The GodDelusion’[7]. Similarly on the socio-political level, we have contributions by the late thinker Christopher Hitchens[8] in his works including ‘God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything’[9].

Whilst the debate and at times conflicts surrounding these issues did occur in what historically is described as the dark ages and subsequently the medieval times or pre-modern times; the level of debate and dispute among pre-modern Muslim theologians was actually less than the conflict we see today. This is arguably why we see efforts and books like Khalili’s, which arguably demonstrate that early Arabic science was deploying a scientific method that was on the whole institutionally supported by religiously-based empires or within societies which religion and religious values played a significant role. In this case, it means the Islamic faith as embraced by Muslim scholars within a strong religious society, including many not well known to agnostics and atheists.

In other words, an understanding of science, as a sub-branch of rational sciences with a rationalist philosophical approach (with noted exceptions) as the foundation for enquiry, was internalized within a part of the myriad of “ulūm”, collectively referred to as Islamic sciences. If not seen as a religious discipline in itself by some, it was often seen as a necessary discipline and a part of broader civilization in general. Hence Islam as understood by the many leading theologians placed scientific enquiry and knowledge derived there-from within such a context. The nature and extent of the conflict that we see played out today is something of a modern phenomenon, it’s causes best investigated elsewhere.[10] 

Defining terms as a means of conceptualizing science, scientific theory, and its relationship in or with Islam

Whilst it is common knowledge among scientists, the definition of scientific method and what is meant by science should be conceptualized here, before assessing their existence and acceptance or otherwise in classical or pre-modern Islam.

Science is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as ‘any of various intellectual activities concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and entailing an unbiased observation and systematic experimentation.’ The latter part of the definition actually defines the scientific method i.e. the unbiased approach to observing and recording, so that the observations maybe tested through reproducing the same experiment in another environment to ensure no bias; and systematic so that all factors are considered; and when reproducing the experiment and performed ceterus paribus i.e. all factors should be equal and the same, thereby not inadvertently affecting the results.

The explanation continues to define what it is that is being sought through such systematic observation and states ‘In general, a science involves the pursuit of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of fundamental laws'[11]. This then covers the aim (i.e. knowledge) and scope (i.e. general truths or universal laws or norms), covering all subject matters in this definition including social norms and laws, at least by definition, and also subjects which we commonly describe as sciences, (i.e. physical laws whether pertaining to: chemistry, biology and physics, and their sub branches that have evolved further from them.

Muslim history – scientists and scientific feats

Muslim history, scientists and scientific feats are not the focus of this essay. For exhaustive discussions of there, I refer to the recent works mentioned above. It is important to note, however, that they demonstrate that in pre-modern Muslim society there was a tolerance at least, if not an encouragement from political and imperial powers, for further theoretical and practical scientific development, whether related to mathematics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geography (or geology to be more precise), and various aspects of physics and medicine including optics and study of light. [12]

Muslim theology and the Role of Science

There are various questions that we would need to look at and seek to answer, even if briefly, and assess in regards to pre-Muslim thought on theology, religion and the role of science. These would include, but not be restricted to, the following: How was science conceived? How was it, if it was at all internalized to Muslim theological discourse? How was it outweighed vis-à-vis scripture?

Regarding conceptualization and conception of science, with notable exceptions Muslim theologians were generally rationalists i.e. belonged to the rationalist school of philosophical enquiry. Ergo, they believed in the necessity of the priori postulate in order to conceptualize and understand and interpret any sensory reality or data. Therefore, they were more akin to the rationalist thinking being the foundation for their thought and even theology.

There were notable exceptions that discussed proofs and hierarchy of proofs that in connection with matters of creed. For example, when discussing what is evidence or rather proof for beliefs in the sense how does one arrive at basic truths, and knowledge which can form basic creedal beliefs, the list begins with darūriyāt – rational necessities or priori truths; followed by ihsās or sensed truths i.e. observations; and then mention of khabr or riwāya i.e. transmitted information or reports e.g. revelation in the Qur’an or prophetic sayings or transmitted facts like for example the existence of a distant city.

This is in most works of Muslim theology when discussing creed and beliefs and in what is often described by Muslim scholars as the definitive and final summation of sunni creed in Aqīdah al-Nasafī[13] and it’s well known commentary Shar’h al-Taftazâni – the explanation of Sa’d al-Din al-Taftazāni[14] of the creed[15]. This is a work which is considered a classic in the genre and an “orthodox” transmission of the creed.[16] Rational and sensory knowledge is given priority over all other sciences, including narration. The text states that mere “spiritual illumination” or “ilhām” is not a proof.

Furthermore, it is explained that this is the case due to the rational beliefs forming the foundations of the dogma i.e. one believes in God not because of scripture but because one is rationally convinced. Hence this is the first root or means of belief. Rejecting rational truths would therefore lead to rejecting rationality as the basis for belief, which is the foundation upon which faith in the scripture and God relies, thereby invalidating faith in God and the scripture as they branch off from the root or foundational belief. This is a principle discussed by all major medieval theologians, whether the likes of Juwaynī or Fakhr al-Razī and Ash’arite theologians. This is stated in no uncertain terms by al-Zahāwī, in his refutation of the puritanical reformist Salafi/Wahabi movement in the work ‘the True Dawn'[17].

This though does not specifically deal with science and the scientific methodology, though it established two components: necessary priori concepts and rational enquiry, and sensory observation. These two components take precedence even over transmitted textual evidence and scripture.

It also establishes the supremacy of the rationality over literal interpretations of scripture, and at times scripture itself, within orthodox and classical pre-modern theology. This should help demonstrate that this is not a “reformist” modern trend, or something alien to the tradition. This does not mean that this was universal, but it was the established position. And different authorities in theology dealt with these matters with slight differences in emphasis, hierarchy, albeit this was the prevalent view and even predominant attitude.

There were various extensions of this in understanding the role of the scientific approach and experimentation. To give examples from two well-known and famous pre-modern authors who also add to the list of sources of knowledge experimentation, include the theologian of what people today view as a conservative and scripturalist school, due to its association with Saudi Arabian puritanical Wahabism, the jurist ofthe Hanbali school of Islamic law or fiqh. The major scholar Ibn Qudāma al-Maqdisī [18] who authored a text on fundamental principles of Islamic law (usūl ul-fiqh), in which he stated in addition to the intellect, that knowledge is also acquired through observation and “tajriba” “experimentation”. This outlined in general the abstraction of knowledge through observation and recording of experimental data as a basis for knowledge, which was a source of definitive knowledge, which took precedence over speculative interpretation ‘Zann’ or over analysis from scripture[19]. The discussion is summarized from Imam al-Ghazali’s Mustasfa fi Ilm ul-Usul[20], the well-known scholar, theologian, sufi, and jurist. al-Ghazali[21] was given the title Hujjat al-Islam – literally the proof of Islam, as he embodied the revival of the religious sciences in their whole, including theology, and jurisprudence (fiqh) and the principles of law (usūl).

Another major authority in Islamic legal maxims (Qawa’id) and in fact a pioneer in defining the science of maxims of law as opposed to source principles was al-Imām al-Izz bin Abdul Salām.[22] Interestingly he took the philosophical principle further. He stated that worldly interests i.e. that which is beneficial for mankind and their interests and that which is harmful both physically and morally, could also be known in almost all cases through rational and scientific enquiry. The distinction would be known, he states by: ‘bil-tajārib wa-adāt'[23] meaning ‘through experimentation and established customs/rules’. This is a little explored area but essentially he stated that this would be in almost all matters of public interests, and only the odd religious conflict would occur on matters that were supra-rational, and therefore covered by an explicit religious injunction which is not rational, mainly in matters of worships. This actually subjects not only beliefs and knowledge in creed i.e. theology proper to rational and scientific enquiry, but interestingly social values and societal interests i.e. rules and ethics concerning social lives should also be rational and subject to scientific enquiry.


Whilst this is by no means a comprehensive survey of the literature, it is to sufficient to demonstrate the rationalist basis, which was embraced included one of its methods pf learning, the scientific method, observed facts, and science as a means of knowledge. Whilst it is beyond the scope to examine cases where this did take place in Islamic history in the works of scholars such as Ibn Hazm (456AH1054CE), the so-called literalist (Dhāhirī), by Fakhr al-Dīn al-Rāzi[24] (540AH 1149CE), an orthodox Ash’arīte, and Imām Abū Bakr al-Jassās (died 370AH 980CE), who was a major scholar belonging to the Hanafi rite, exemplify this. It must be emphasized here that historically, literalist and orthodox theologians have concurred on eminently rational and scientific positions and arguments in their relevant commentaries of the Qur’an and legal works, rejecting the superstitious, ideas such as magic, demon possession, and establishing the spherical nature of the Earth – the above names are just a few who took these positions, and crucially, interpreted scripture in light of those rational beliefs (some may say today ‘facts’). 

This should further substantiate not only the scientific heritage, and achievements, but also that there was no intractable conflict between the rational and scientific and the religious realms of thought, though much debate, amongst pre-modern Muslim scholars on the topic of science and religion. The scientific approach did not threaten Muslims reading of scripture in pre-modern times, unlike what we see in some circles today.  

[1] ‘Pathfinders – The Golden Age of Arabic Science’, Penguin books 2010, England, Jim al-Khalili.

[2] Jim al-Khalili is a professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Surrey and also holds the chair in Public Engagement in Science, and has been awarded the Royal Society’s Michael Faraday Prize for Science Communication in 2007, and an OBE in 2008. A popular broadcaster and author.

[3] Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has authored 18 books including ‘the Dignity of Difference’ and ‘Future Tense’ as well as the mentioned text. A broadcaster who regularly comments on intellectual and political matters on Radio 4.

[4] ‘The Great Partnership – God, Science and the Search for Meaning’, Hodder & Stoughton 2001, UK, Jonathan Sacks.

[5] The author had the opportunity to attend the book launch of ‘The Great Partnership’ where there was an exchange of ideas and perspectives between Jim al-Khalili and the Rabbi Sacks, where the atheist Khalili demonstrated a rather more positive approach to religion in the contribution that it made to values and science and interestingly than Sacks who spoke of the scientific distinction between brain functions, which were related to scientific and clinical thought and the imaginative and values/narrative side, functioning as two necessary parts of the brain. 

[6] Richard Dawkins a respected scientist who has won numerous awards, and taught at Oxford university and authored many books, the first of which ‘The Selfish Gene’ has been translated into many languages.

[7] ‘The God Delusion’, Transworld Paperbacks 2007, Richard Dawkins.

[8] Christopher Hitchens was a contributing editor to Vanity Fair, a professor of liberal studies at theNew School in New York and prolific author, polemicist and intellectual. His books included ‘Why Orwell Matters’ and ‘Thomas Jefferson Author of America’. 

[9] ‘God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything’, Atlantic Books 2007, US, Christopher Hitchens.

[10] Khalili however does discuss some of the factors for this in society at large and also ideas related to what is needed in Muslim/Arab majority countries to reverse the trend of the shift and lack of scientific progress and achievement which he documents with statistical data in his book, in chapters 15 and 16 ‘Decline and Renaissance’ and ‘Science and Islam today’.

[11] Page 552, Volume 10, Micropaedia, ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ 1990

[12] Again I would refer to Khalili’s book for more details where he documents, and assesses and critiques claims of individual contributions made by various historic figures.

[13] Aqīdah al-Nasafī named after the author – Abū Hafs Umar al-Nasafī died in the year 537AH i.e. in the Muslim Calendar correlating to 1142CE. Elder goes as far as stating that the text has the place of catechisms and confessions in Christianity i.e. core statements of creed, in his introduction page xix (the introduction is numbered in Roman Numerals unlike the rest of the text.

[14] Sa’d al-Din Taftazānī born in 722AH 1322CE and was described by the polymath and well known scholar Ibn Khaldun as “[h]e was well versed in the philosophical sciences and far advanced in the rest of the sciences that deal with reason.” Introduction page xxi of Elder’s translation of the text.

[15] The text is available in English as ‘A Commentary on the Creed of Islam Sa’d al-Din al-Taftazani on the creed of Najm al-Din al-Nasafi – translated with introduction and notes by Earl Edgar Elder’ Columbia University Press – New York 1950, Great Britain, Canada and India published in the United States.

[16] See Elder’s introduction to the above text.

[17] Zahāwī is Shaykh Jamāl Effendi al-Sidqi al-Zahāwī born in 1836, an Iraqi scholar, editor of al-Zawra historian, theologian, and writer and author of modern day Iraqi origin. ‘The Doctrine of Ahl al-Sunna Versus the “Salafi” movement’ Jamal Effendi al-Iraqi al-Sidqi al-Zahawi translated by Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani, As-Sunna Foundation 1996, US.  

[18] Abū Muhammad Abdullāh Ibn Ahmad Ibn Qudāma al-Maqdisī born in 541AH 1147CE, major author and scholar in Hanbali law proper and theory or usul as it is known.

[19] Rawdat ul-Nāzir wa Junnat ul-Manāzir, section on ‘Ilm’, knowledge. The text is yet to be translated into English but has several popular publications in Arabic.

[20] Mustasfā fī Ilm ul-Usūl, Dar ul-Arqām, Beirut-Lebanon 1999, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. See section on Ilm/Knowledge. Partial translation is available at ‘al-Ghazali’s webiste’ –

[21] Imām Abū Hamīd al-Ghazālī born 450AH 1058CE, was a major figure whose writings in creed, methodology, principles and law proper are the mainstay of the Shafi school thereafter, and in creed and principles studied and commented upon by all schools. His last major work is said to be al-Mustasfā fī ilm ul-Usūl on the science of Usūl or principles of Islamic law which form the foundation of deriving beliefs and laws in Islam.

[22] Sultân ul-Ulemā Imām al-Izz ibn Abdul Salām born 578AH 1182 CEwas a considered a major scholar who was considered an absolute authority (Mujtahid mutlaq) a level acknowledged to have been reached by very few in traditional Islamic circles. He authored several books on Islamic maxims and even summarized his own, of which the referred text is a summary of his own work – Qawā’id ul-Anām fī-Masālih ul-Ahkām. 

[23] Page 109, ‘Mukhtasar al-Fawā’id fil-Ahkām ul-Maqāsid – al-Ma’rūf bil-Qawā’id al-Sughra’, Dar ibn al-Jawzi 2009, Saudi Arabia/Cairo/Beirut, Imām al-Izz ibn Abdul Salām 

[24] A fascinating study of the works and thought of Fakhr al-Din al-Rāzī is available in the English language titled ‘Theology and Tafsir in the Major works of Fakh al-Din al-Rāzī’ which explores some his scientific and philosophical contributions, and analysis of Qur’ān through scientific lens’ related to astronomy, and also matters such as demon possession and magic (which he rejects as do the others mentioned in their various works) and other such issues. It is published by ISTAC in Malaysia (1996), authored by Yasin Ceylan. 

The post Science and Islam: A Very Modern Conflict? appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: Covid19, mosques, Muslim history and scientists, Opinions, Quran, Science and Islam

Domestic abuse linked to coronavirus outbreak reported

Domestic abuse incidents related to the coronavirus outbreak have already been seen, according to a police leader.

Greater Manchester’s deputy mayor for policing and crime Baroness Beverley Hughes said on Wednesday there had been reports of abuse linked to the virus, which has seen the country put on lockdown, and the force was preparing for serious incidents.

Speaking at an online press conference following a meeting of the region’s Covid-19 emergency committee, Baroness Hughes said: “I think we are beginning to see a rise in domestic abuse incidents. We anticipated this might happen in the very stressful circumstances for many families.”

She later said the overall level of domestic abuse cases was as expected, but officers were classifying incidents believed to have a connection to Covid-19.

She said families were being asked to stay at home and many had significantly less money, or no income, as a result of restrictions put in place.

She added: “The potential for tension to arise in the home as a result of what we are asking people to cope with, in order to suppress the virus, is going to increase and therefore we would be right to think this might display itself in an increase in the number of domestic incidents we are called to.

“We are preparing for that. Some of those most serious incidents will be challenging to deal with, particularly if the victim needs to be moved to a refuge, but the police specialise in these kind of cases and the local partners, local authorities, they’re working together really closely to prepare for that.”

Baroness Hughes said there had also been a small rise in the number of hate crimes.

Avon and Somerset police reported a 20.9% increase in domestic abuse incidents in the last two weeks, from 718 to 868.

In Cumbria, police asked postal workers and delivery drivers to look out for signs of abuse.

Detective Chief Inspector Dan St Quintin said: “In the coming weeks and months we ask for everyone to look out for each other as much as possible.

“We would also like to extend this plea to those such as postal workers, delivery drivers, food delivery companies and carers who will still be visiting houses, to keep an eye out for any signs of abuse and to report any concerns to us.”

He said the Bright Sky app, which can be disguised for those worried about partners checking their phones, provides support and information for victims.

Mark Groves, chief executive of the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV), said: “While the whole country grapples with the consequences of Covid-19, there are huge dangers lurking for victims of domestic abuse and violence.

“We fully support Cumbria Police’s plea to key workers to help the police investigate suspicions or concerns surrounding victims or perpetrators.”

Simon Blackburn, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said councils are “all too aware” that vulnerable people might be affected by domestic abuse and urged neighbours to look out for signs.

He said: “We are seeking further Government guidance on how to support domestic abuse victims and their children who are self-isolating or otherwise endangered by the current pandemic.

“There also needs to be continued support for specialist domestic abuse services and for the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, with help to expand online access to support services for victims and perpetrators.”

On Tuesday, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told the Commons Justice Committee the country may see more cases of domestic abuse, as well as online crime and fraud during the outbreak.

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Categories: Baroness Beverley Hughes, Coronavirus, Domestic abuse, Domestic Abuse Incidents, Greater Manchester Deputy Mayor, News

No, the Muslims praying in this video aren’t ignoring the coronavirus lockdown. It’s far-right fake news

A viral and misleading tweet which attempted to portray a group of Muslims in Wembley, north-west London, ignoring government advice on social distancing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, has drawn wide condemnation and reports concerning its breach of Twitter’s hateful conduct policies.

The tweet, which appeared on the platform at 9:43 am on March 25 from a far-right account (which also promotes antisemitic and Islamophobic conspiracies, including the far-right obsessive interest in the obscure concept of taqiyya) has gained over sixteen-hundred retweets as of writing.

The tweet tried to claim that the Muslims were ‘arrogantly’ ignoring medical advice. But after researching the origins of the video, after several members of the public reported the tweet to our service, Tell MAMA can confirm, with a high degree of confidence, that the video is several weeks old, a version of which appeared on Facebook on March 3. Photographs, however, uploaded to the platform on February 28, shared in a negative review of Wembley Central Masjid, from a Muslim man, had lamented how the mosque had been closed for six weeks (over an internal dispute), adding that Friday (Jummah) prayers had to take place on a pavement in the rain.

Six days before the viral anti-Muslim and Islamophobic tweet from the @FormerWorshiper account, the mosque had announced on Facebook that it had suspended all congregational services and activities, reflecting the updated governmental advice regarding the coronavirus pandemic.


Tell MAMA urged users to report the inflammatory tweet yesterday afternoon.

Others have done the same, writing, “FAKE. It hasn’t rained in London in days. Also, look at this racist’s timeline and report it.”

Various Twitter users also highlighted the lack of rain in London (as the video was filmed during in rainy conditions), and condemned its deliberate stoking of anti-Muslim and Islamophobic tensions.

Some were taken in or emboldened by the propaganda, writing, “How about they are arrested & deported for breaking the curfew!!! Remind me, who rules Britain?!!!”. Others called for the police to disperse an event which had occurred weeks prior, as one user even responded that the army should intervene. More ideologically motivated accounts added that Islam should be banned.

Several far-right channels on the encrypted messaging app Telegram would share a GIF of the video, including Britain First, hours later, gaining several thousand views.

We have urged Twitter to revise its policies and allow users to report tweets designed to mislead that stoke racial and religious hatred. And make that request again.

In an effort to promote social media and internet research skills, we have released an educational video for communities.







The post No, the Muslims praying in this video aren’t ignoring the coronavirus lockdown. It’s far-right fake news appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Fake News, News

Made in Manchester: Brothers join list of terrorists who lived in south of city

A small area of south Manchester has been home to more than 20 terrorists and terror suspects all within a three-mile radius of Salman Abedi’s home.

In recent years, at least 24 people have been tracked by the PA news agency living close to the neighbourhood in Fallowfield the Abedis called home.

They have included at least two other suicide bombers, a leading IS recruiter and twin “poster girls” for the jihadi cause.

Before that, al Qaida commander Anas al-Libi lived in south Manchester.

Salman Abedi, born, raised and educated in the city, left school with few qualifications, had poor English and his only educational achievements were studying Arabic.

He joined the same violent few from an area centred around Moss Side and Whalley Range that has seen a now well-worn path to radicalisation.

Abedi’s own family came to the UK in 1992 from Libya, among the 430% increase since 1991 in people of African origin living in Manchester, according to figures from the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity at Manchester University.

On the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Chief Constable Ian Hopkins maintained radicalisation was a national problem, not one specific to Manchester.

He told PA that people being drawn into extremism was a problem the whole of the UK must face.

Just 18 months before the bombing, a report titled Rethinking Radicalisation was commissioned by Manchester City Council to “assess the current state of community relations and radicalisation in Manchester”.

It noted widespread criticism of the Government’s deradicalisation programme titled Prevent.

Another persistent theme in the report was the issue of radicalisation, which was “undeniable” in Manchester, according to some youngsters cited by the report, with particular concern over extremism among teenagers and young adults.

The report also spoke of “parallel communities” living side by side but barely integrating.

After the arena bombing, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham commissioned a report, A Shared Future, on tackling extremism and promoting social cohesion.

It concluded radicalisation had no single driver with no single solution and repeated the fears of persecution amongst Muslims of the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy.

It also noted a 130% increase in hate crimes and 500% increase in anti-Muslim hate crime in the weeks following the bombing.

In October last year, Manchester’s myriad of counter-extremism initiatives and projects were joined in the city by Coin, the Cohesion and Integration Network, a new national charity to strengthen good community relations.

In the same month, GCHQ, an intelligence and security organisation working with MI5 and MI6, also announced it would open offices in the city.

At the Old Bailey trial of Hashem Abedi, one witness from the Midlands described how the defendant asked him to buy acid, which can be used to manufacture explosives.

He was warned not to do it.

When he asked why, his father told him because Hashem was “from Manchester”.

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Categories: Fallowfields, Hashem Abedi, Islamist terrorism, Manchester Arena, Manchester bomber, News, Prevent, Salman Abedi, terrorism

Visit by ‘Interfaith’ Pakistani Clerics to the U.K Turns into a Farce

Interfaith group – FACES – which is a Pakistan based interfaith group brought a group of Islamic clerics to meetings with key politicians, ministers, hate crime practitioners and interfaith organisations in the U.K.

The Founder and former Director of Faith Matters, Fiyaz Mughal, met with the group and explained how sectarian hatred from Pakistan was being promoted through satellite channels and beamed into the homes of Urdu speaking British citizens; through such channels anti-Ahmadi rhetoric and anti-Shia hatred was being promoted, he said.

Furthermore, Mughal commented on how such hatred was influencing and re-enforcing such intolerance against minorities in Islam and that the murder of Asad Shah in Glasgow and the incendiary rhetoric of Islamist extremists such as Khadim Hussain Rizvi, posed a threat to the security of British nationals.

Having spent 45 minutes on this topic, we were then appalled to see those very Islamic clerics, promoting anti-Muslim bigotry against a U.K. Minister – Lord Tariq Ahmad. To add insult to injury, they made a short video which they posted up, suggesting that Ahmadis are ‘non-believers’ and that they were not aware of the background of this U.K. Minister.

Irrespective of what religion a U.K. Minister follows, we cannot stand idly by and have a member of our Government abused because of their Islamic identity which does not fit the ‘pigeon-holed’ belief patterns of such preachers. In fact, we would argue that such preachers are not fit for purpose and do not have the backbone to challenge bigotry.

We have asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office whether this trip was funded by the British taxpayer. The answer we have received was a categoric ‘no’. In future, we would ask civil servants to vet any group and individuals travelling from overseas who seek to meet with ministers in the United Kingdom. It makes a mockery of human rights and ‘tolerance’ when such clerics seek to abuse our ministers because they are, in their torrid minds, the ‘wrong type of Muslim’.

Here is the video of the clerics. They include Sunni and Shia clerics.

The post Visit by ‘Interfaith’ Pakistani Clerics to the U.K Turns into a Farce appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: anti-Ahmadi, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Hate Crime practitioners, Interfaith Pakistan, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Lord Ahmad, News, Opinions

The Impact of Christchurch Terror Attack | Tell MAMA Interim report 2019

1 Year-On After the Christchurch Terror attacks, Tell MAMA Reveals a 692% Increase in Anti-Muslim Hatred that Spiked in the UK After the Attacks


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51 people worshipping at 2 mosques in New Zealand were murdered by a far-right inspired extremist – Brenton Tarrant. The anti-Muslim terrorist attack took place on the 15th of March 2019 – exactly a year ago.

  • In the week following the terror attacks in Christchurch, incidents reported to Tell MAMA increased by 692%, with 12 incidents recorded in the previous week (March 8 – 14) and 95 the following week (March 15 – 21).
  • The terror attacks at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand had a significant effect in the UK, resulting in a rapid but long-lasting increase in anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia.
  • Between January 1 and June 30, 2019, 705 incidents were reported to Tell MAMA, of which, 529 were verified as anti-Muslim and Islamophobic in nature. Of those verified, 374 occurred offline, and 155 had occurred online.
  • Between the same period, 20 police forces across the UK recorded 1,213 anti-Muslim incidents. Of these, 1,028 occurred offline, while 91 were online, and, for 94 reports, the nature of the incident is undisclosed.
  • Incidents in public areas increased by 192% between February and March, from 12 to 35 incidents respectively. Most significantly, anti-Muslim incidents targeting mosques or other Islamic institutions increased by 433% between February and March, from 3 to 16 incidents respectively.

The post The Impact of Christchurch Terror Attack | Tell MAMA Interim report 2019 appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: reports

Local newspaper apologises for ‘grave error’ over inflammatory “Islamist community centre” headline

The Colchester Daily Gazette has apologised for its “grave error” after wrongly referring to a proposed Islamic community as “Islamist”.

The headline appeared in an article published on December 17, 2019, which in its print edition had read, “Islamist centre’s pub conversion set for approval”, with a near-identical headline of “Plans to convert pub into Islamist community centre set for approval” appearing online.

The corrected headline as it appeared in later online editions. Credit: Colchester Gazette.

Shoomi Chowdhury raised a complaint with the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), on grounds of accuracy and discrimination. Concerning the former, she argued that the term “Islamist” was understood to refer to violent extremists, and it was, therefore, inaccurate to describe the community centre in this way.

She added a complaint of Clause 12 (Discrimination), fearing that such a headline could incite anti-Muslim hatred, racism, and Islamophobia towards Muslims.

The newspaper accepted all fault, suggesting that it was human error on behalf of the journalist, who felt remorse for their mistake. Staff then spoke with the content editor and journalist, ensuring that such mistakes will not occur in the future.

A correction appeared in the print edition of the newspaper before the complaint reached IPSO, which read: “In yesterday’s Gazette we printed an article about Colchester Islamic Community Centre’s bid to convert the former Beehive pub. In the headline, the word “Islamist” was used – a term that refers to militancy and fundamentalism.

We apologise for this grave error; the headline should have read “Islamic centre’s pub conversion bid set for approval”. We have received many complaints from different communities.”

The clarification added that the Colchester Islamic Community Centre “is a community and family-centred organisation whose work has always looked at the betterment of Colchester and looking to positively contribute to the community.”

Due to a satisfactory mediation, IPSO did not mediate further.

A Tell MAMA investigation, however, has found, that due to the audited nature of this local newspaper network, owned by Newsquest, the “Islamist” headline appeared in several other online editions: including the Maldon Standard, Brentwood Live, the Halstead Gazette, the Daily Gazette, the Braintree & Witham Times, and the Harwich & Manningtree Standard.

Credit: Muck Rack.

Some of the URL permalinks had contained the text “crunch-time-islamist-centre-pub-conversion” before correction, and, as further online searches reveal, the original headline still appears under this search query, which re-directs to the corrected headlines if clicked. The originals are still available through cached results.

Nor do any of the online editions carry the same correction and clarification.

Recent polling of Muslims in Britain found a lack of trust in the media when compared to other public institutions.

Guidance for journalists covering issues about Islam and Muslims published last year by the Scottish parliament’s cross-party group (CPG) on tackling Islamophobia, aims to change this. Professor Peter Hopkins, who co-authored the report, said: “We know from research that problematic media representations play a key role in fostering Islamophobia so we hope that this guidance will help to improve the portrayal, accuracy, representation and terminology used about Islam and Muslims, for the benefit of all.”

This theme is something that Tell MAMA has long explored in its annual reports and challenged.

It is, however, surprising that the online editions do not carry such clarifications, and we urge that this corrected.

Workplace diversity is a crucial tool in ensuring that such mistakes do not happen, and we have long championed more Muslim representation at all levels of journalism, including in editorial positions.







The post Local newspaper apologises for ‘grave error’ over inflammatory “Islamist community centre” headline appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Corrections, IPSO, Journalism, Media, News

Racist threatened to ‘blow up’ Muslim woman and her family on a crowded bus

A racist threatened a Muslim woman on a crowded bus in Newcastle, suggesting that he would ‘blow her and her family up’.

Other passengers were targeted with racist abuse, even after the driver had warned him to stop if he wanted to stay on the bus, following several passenger complaints.

The Muslim woman who contacted Tell MAMA, however, speaking on the basis of anonymity, felt frustrated that the driver did not do more to remove the racist man, even when she challenged their assertion that the man was merely ‘drunk’.

She also overheard radio instructions that the driver should ‘pull over’ after Northumbria Police were contacted, but he did not, alluding instead, to the volume of traffic.

The violent racist language took on a physical form, as he spat towards some black women, and called another man the N-word, and called the Muslim woman, herself South Asian, a “P*ki”. She and another male passenger prevented the racist man from enacting further violence as he soon exited the bus.

Since the police had yet to arrive, she left the bus at her usual stop and contacted them when home.

The racist incident occurred on February 24.

She described the perpetrator as being a white male in his fifties.

The police investigation is ongoing.

Tell MAMA continues to document how anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobia harms the mobility of Muslim women, notably in public areas, accessing goods and services, and when using public transport. Discrimination remains a growing problem.

In the previous reporting cycle, almost one-fifth of verified reports (18 per cent, n=156) to Tell MAMA took place on transport networks.





The post Racist threatened to ‘blow up’ Muslim woman and her family on a crowded bus appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Hate Speech, News, public transport

Joint Statement: Why Chatham House must do better in vetting speakers

Faith Matters and the ‘Never Again’ Association are concerned that a failure to vet speakers with anti-Muslim, xenophobic and other bigoted views undermines the importance of the Polish-British Belvedere Forum, which is being hosted at Chatham House today and tomorrow.

The event, which brings together dignitaries, civil society leaders, academics, business, media, and diaspora voices, covers topics like of dual Polish-British identity, climate change, and Polish-British relations in a post-Brexit world.

A speaker listed at tomorrow afternoon’s breakout session is Stefan Tompson, who has hosted the far-right extremist Tommy Robinson at his house when he visited Poland, and in an interview with wPolityce, spoke of “Muslim rapists” and the alleged negative consequences of multiculturalism in parts of the UK.

Stefan Tompson has made several appearances on the far-right online TV station in Poland, Wrealu24, including spreading conspiracy theories of so-called “white genocide” in South Africa.

He also referred to Nelson Mandela as a “red terrorist” and an “an almost entirely negative figure”.

Another speaker, Agnieszka Kolakowska, dubbed the “Polish Katie Hopkins” was invited at the behest of the Polish Institute of International Affairs, had pulled out of speaking due to personal reasons after Byline Times contacted them, highlighting the above views. This was only exposed thanks to the efforts of Professor Rafal Pankowski of Never Again, who has now withdrawn from the event, despite having participated at previous forums.

Such individuals do not represent the views of the vast majority in attendance, but by affording such individuals a platform serves to undermine the credibility and importance of such events.

We, therefore, call on Chatham House to restructure the vetting process for external speakers during events to avoid such errors again.

Rafal Pankowski, of Never Again, said: “Freedom of debate is important, and a plurality of voices is fruitful in any discussion, but it should not function as a tool to legitimise those who vilify minority groups like Muslims, or sully the legacies of those who worked to dismantle apartheid in South Africa.”

Iman Atta, Director of Faith Matters, said: “When inviting such people to key events, it is really important that we do not legitimise individuals who have made extremely divisive comments previously about minority groups such as Muslim communities. We expect some due diligence work to have been undertaken beforehand.”


  • Faith Matters is an NGO committed to building pluralism, community cohesion, and educating and empowering communities to resist all forms of extremism.
  • Rafal Pankowski is a Professor of Sociology at the Collegium Civitas University in Warsaw and a co-founder of the ‘Never Again’ Association, which is an independent anti-racism organisation in Poland.

The post Joint Statement: Why Chatham House must do better in vetting speakers appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: News