Racist shouted ‘Go back to Iraq’ at Muslim woman who challenged his misogynistic abuse in a supermarket car park

A South Asian Muslim woman who wears the hijab was walking with their husband in a Morrisons car park when a man had targeted her with misogynistic and racist abuse on July 12.

The abuse began when a white male, in his mid-to-late sixties, said, “Don’t rob me” about her face mask and thinking nothing of the remark, believing it to be a joke, she replied, “You’re safe.”

He then muttered “You f*cking b*tch” as she passed him, causing her to stop, turn around, and challenge him to repeat his abuse.

Rather than repeat his misogyny, he shouted racist abuse: “Why don’t you go back to Iraq, your own country.”

Not wanting to let him get away with it, she described to Tell MAMA how she followed the man towards a car owned by a friend as he continued to make racist remarks towards her, before departing.

The Metropolitan Police are investigating the Islamophobic hate crime, which, to protect her identity further, we are only disclosing a partial location of south-east London.

This racist incident again demonstrates how misogyny intersects with the racialised targeting of Muslim women for their ethnicity and religious clothing. Dehumanising and othering statements linking Muslims to robbery or as ninjas for wearing the face veil (niqab) is a theme long documented in our research.

Academics have analysed how racialised and gendered forms of prejudice, violence, and discrimination harm Muslim women.

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.




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Categories: Hijab, London, Metropolitan Police, News

Police investigating an arson attack on Norwich mosque

Norfolk Police are investigating an arson attack on a Norwich mosque which occurred during the early hours of Monday (July 27) morning.

Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service were made aware of the fire at the building on Aylsham Road in Norwich at around 1:40 am.

A police spokesperson confirmed damage to the outbuilding only as a lone male was spotted starting the fire before leaving the scene.

Norfolk Police are reviewing CCTV footage and are urging witnesses to come forward with information.

A trustee of the mosque spoke with Tell MAMA this afternoon to confirm details of the attack.

Norwich City Council granted the East Anglian Bangladeshi Islamic Trust permission to the renovate the former King Edward VII pub with a mosque and community café in December 2017.

Renovations did not begin, however, until the summer of last year, as refurbishments will create a café for all communities to use.

Once complete, the first floor of the mosque will provide kitchen space, a prayer hall, and cloakroom, as the ground floor will provide a prayer room, funeral room, a counselling room, office space, and a gym.

A spokesperson for the East Anglian Bangladeshi Islamic Trust stated last year that members of the public had welcomed the developments since it went public.

Misleading leaflets from the far-right For Britain party had circulated in the local area in late 2018 were rejected by Norwich Council and the East Anglian Bangladeshi Islamic Trust.

We are monitoring the attack closely and will provide updates when available.

Witnesses can get in touch with Sgt Steve Harrowing from the Norwich North Safer Neighbourhood Team by calling 101 and providing the crime reference number 36/50641/20.

Or, speak to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Tell MAMA can forward information on your behalf anonymously to Norfolk Police if needed.




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Categories: arson, mosque, Mosque Attack, News, Norfolk Police, Norwich

Post blaming Muslims for Leicester’s Covid-19 outbreak still on Facebook despite false information flag

Facebook did not remove a viral anti-Muslim falsehood about the coronavirus (Covid-19) in Leicester, even after the post was flagged as false by one of its UK third-party fact checkers, a Tell MAMA investigation has revealed.

The charity Full Fact concluded on July 15 that the meme was fake “because there is no evidence or suggestion that Muslims were not using hand sanitiser.”

How the post appears on Facebook with a warning about it being false information. Credit: Facebook.

Nor did the platform consider the post to have breached its Community Standards.

Tell MAMA investigated the post which appeared on July 5 from a pro-Trump account saturated in conspiracist and racist content. The account holder also recycles historic antisemitic canards about so-called “Jewish power” in public life, with a notable obsessive interest in the Hungarian philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros.

Other examples of falsehoods shared on their profile include a post which claims that London Mayor Sadiq Khan was trialling “Shakira Law” in three boroughs. Reuters, another trusted fact-checker, has debunked this claim.

The July 5 post, however, gained 425 shares on Facebook, with more than one-quarter of public shares occurring on July 7, after an unofficial page in support of the Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg named ‘Moggmania’ had shared the falsehood without comment or context, attracting various anti-Muslim and Islamophobic responses.

Credit: Facebook.

Comments below the Moggmania post ranged from individuals calling for deportations to broader resentments about English language proficiency, and stigmatising comments about misappropriating social housing and benefit claims (which obscures the deep structural inequalities in place), to victim-blaming comments about the virus. Such language broadly taps into what some academics argue is a “spectrum of deviance” in tabloid newspapers where stigma to othered groups is attached acts of non-conformity (including perceptions of misappropriating benefits to single mothers) to extreme forms of deviance and violence.

Facebook deemed this comment, written in response to the falsehood, to have not breached its Community Standards. Credit: Facebook.

The “Stop Hate for Profit” boycott of Facebook has seen more than 1,000 companies to not advertise on the platform during July in protest at its failure to address hate speech. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Walt Disney Company is the latest major advertiser to slash its budget on Facebook-owned platforms.

The much anticipated civil rights audit, commissioned by Facebook, which brought together various civil rights solicitors over a 2-year-period, criticised the platform’s recent decision making as a “setback for civil rights” as other criticisms focused on Facebook prioritising free expression over non-discrimination.

Facebook has agreed to implement some but not all of the recommendations made in the 89-page report.

Some of the recommendations include Facebook investing more to address organised hate towards Muslim, Jewish, and other minority communities. A ban on posts which in direct or indirect forms, praise or advocate white nationalism. And steps to address discrimination and algorithmic biases.

Facebook has since removed various high-profile disinformation networks, including those linked to Roger Stone, and employees of Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and his two sons.

Criticisms, however, remain in how the platform deals with climate change misinformation. And this week, Facebook removed an anti-masks group with 9,000 members for spreading harmful misinformation about Covid-19.

To help fight the spread of false news and misinformation, Facebook provides a lengthy guide for publishers regarding fact-checking, including how such content, deemed to have fallen foul of third-party fact-checkers will see the reach of such content diminish. Pages and websites found to be repeated breach risk demonetisation, bans, and reduced content distribution.

But what is deemed eligible for fact-checking? The guide makes clear that “newsworthy Facebook and Instagram posts, including ads, with articles, photos or videos.”

What is unclear, however, is how such limits impact personal accounts, as in this example, the falsehood spread from a single user before gaining the attention of the “Moggmania” page.

Interest in the post on Facebook did decline over the following days, with its appeal further restricted to a pool of people with overarching ideological interests, even after the Facebook post comes with a warning and a link to the Full Fact article.

The appeal of this flagrant falsehood raises questions about the influence of echo chambers and filter bubbles, concepts that remain contested amongst academics despite broader concerns about the role of hyperpartisanship in mainstream politics. Empirical evidence has found evidence of such echo chambers during and after the 2016 elections in the United States, as others argue that social media has had a positive influence on political engagement, as studies made similar points about users in Britain and Australia. Gab, an ‘alternative’ social media platform, is an example of where academics have identified far-right forms of echo chambers.

If not echo chambers, the ability of some to fall for false news may reflect the idea of group polarisation, as individuals harden their previous beliefs, practise self-segregation, and develop a mistrust of others.

A wide-ranging study explored the motivations individuals hold for sharing or creating false news. Motivations included (but not limited to) for malicious intent, for financial gain or fun, or out of ideological passion, where users “are blinded by their ideology and perceive the false information as correct,” which increases its reach.

And for those embedded within echo chambers that promote conspiracy theories, the resistance to debunkings was born not out of gullibility, but a commitment to particular ways of thinking when faced with untrusted opinions and challenges online.

Other research argues that “fake news susceptibility is more a matter of non-reflectiveness than of political partisanship.”

Tell MAMA will raise the points made in this article further with Facebook.












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Categories: COVID-19, News

Police officer suspected of etching swastika onto colleague’s belongings

A police officer in Manchester is suspected of emblazoning a colleague’s belongings with a swastika.

Greater Manchester Police said it has sparked an “internal investigation” after the “disgraceful and disgusting act”, which has been declared a hate crime.

Detectives and professional standards are treating the incident “incredibly seriously” after the unnamed officer began his or her shift on Sunday to find the Nazi symbol etched onto their items.

Assistant Chief Constable Mabs Hussain said: “I can wholeheartedly say that we are appalled that one of our employees felt that this behaviour was acceptable.

“A colleague has been subjected to a hate crime and there is no place for behaviour like this in GMP or policing nationally, and it’s being treated incredibly seriously.

“We serve one of the most culturally diverse areas in the United Kingdom and we’re incredibly proud to have a diverse workforce to serve and represent our communities.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that an officer has been faced with such an atrocity during their shift and we’re urging any officers or staff with any information to report it.”

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Categories: Etched swastika, Greater Manchester Police, hate crime, Mabs Hussain, News, Swastika

Teacher ‘inundated with support’ as he delivers free school meals on foot

Teacher Zane Powles said he was “inundated with support” as he hand-delivered 7,500 free school meals to his students in Grimsby.

Mr Powles, assistant headteacher at Western Primary School, began handing out free school meals to his students on foot at the beginning of the lockdown, delivering his final meal on Friday.

“When lockdown happened 17 weeks ago now, I was really concerned about our children,” Mr Powles told the PA news agency.

“We have some quite vulnerable children at our school, and some really vulnerable children at our school.”

Mr Powles credited the efforts of footballer Marcus Rashford, who successfully campaigned for free school meal vouchers for children, which means he will not have to continue delivering meals over the summer holiday.

Mr Powles, 48, said the undertaking was a “team effort”, and that while he delivered meals on foot, the school’s headteacher and deputy headteacher delivered meals by car to those further away.

Over the course of lockdown, Mr Powles claims he has walked more than 550 miles to deliver over 7,500 meals to his students.

“I’ve been inundated with support from the families we deliver to, and also the community as a whole,” he told PA.

“Walking around the estate and around neighbours, people have been in their hordes coming out and clapping, people I don’t know, who appreciate and see the effort that’s being done for our kids.”

With the arrival of the school holidays, Mr Powles will be undertaking a cycling challenge around the capital city castles of the British Isles, including the Tower of London, on a 1,500-mile round-trip.

He will be fundraising for special needs charity FLAG, and Meals & More, which aims to help children receive meals during school holidays.

“I won’t be delivering free school meals to the children any more but I will be campaigning for free school meals, certainly through the holidays, it’s then that they need more support because they’re not in a safe space like school,” he told PA.

“Our motto is ‘the school that cares’, and hopefully we’ve showed the children that we care for them in school, and we care for them when they’re not in school.”

To see donations to FLAG and Meals & More, visit: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ZanePowles-Cycle_Capital_City_Castles

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Categories: free school meals, Grimsby, Meals to his children, News, vulnerable children at our school, Zane Powles

Driver asked Muslim man ‘where he could buy bombs from’ and made ‘boom’ hand gestures

Another driver asked a Muslim man ‘where he could buy bombs from’ before making a ‘boom’ gesture with their hands at a set of traffic lights.

The anti-Muslim and Islamophobic incident occurred in West London on June 23.

Speaking to Tell MAMA, the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, consented to have his story told.

He described how the perpetrator, identified as a white male in his mid-to-late forties, had also made a derogatory remark about his prayer cap.

This is another example of the targeting of Muslim men due to their ethnicity and religious clothing where perpetrators have mentioned explosives or bombs in reports to Tell MAMA in recent weeks.

Last week, we reported that a group of Muslim men in the Wakefield area on July 8 were shouted out by a neighbour when delivering furniture to an address which referenced a bomb.

The Metropolitan Police is investigating.

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.




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Categories: beard, hate crime, Metropolitan Police, Muslim men, News, prayer cap

China’s Aggressive Actions on Human Rights Should Not Be Forgotten

We are currently seeing a change and shift in relations between the United Kingdom and the Chinese Communist Party. This on the back of a number of issues that have included Huawei, the Coronavirus crisis, aggressive postures against human rights activists in Hong Kong and the mass internment of Uighur Muslims.

For far too long, the Chinese Communist Government has been allowed to do what it likes under a policy of approachment by the then Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. David Cameron. However, we are now in a different place and China cannot be allowed to carry on its abuse of human rights, whilst it still maintains an aggressive policy against those who peacefully demonstrate against the Government’s autocratic policies. Let us also never forget the massacre of peaceful demonstrators in Tianenmen Square in 1989.

This Government is right in challenging and in stopping the influence of China’s Communist Government. Who would have thought that over a million people would be forcibly interned because of their religion in 2020? Who would have thought that a Government would restrict public access to information during the outbreak of a global pandemic? Furthermore, who would have thought that a policy of breaking the will of peaceful demonstrators in Hong Kong, would be enacted in 2020, with the eyes of the world watching?

China has, for far too long, thought it could do what it wanted. That time has come to an end. Unless, they realise the futility of their policies in the areas outlined, we should continue to hold the Chinese Communist Government to account at every step.

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Categories: China, Chinese Communist Government, Coronavirus, Hong Kong, Huawei, Opinions, Tianenmen Square

Appeal by British charities to fight Covid-19 in world’s poorest countries

A collection of British charities have launched a new appeal to raise funds to fight coronavirus in refugee camps and poor communities in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries.

The UK Government has pledged to match the first £5 million in donations made by the public to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC).

The DEC, which is made up of 14 of Britain’s largest aid charities, will spend donations on providing food, water and medical care to people in countries such as Syria, Yemen and South Sudan.

Other target countries are Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Much of the money will go to refugee camps, where overcrowding and poor sanitation gives the virus much greater opportunity to spread.

The DEC estimates there are 24 million internally-displaced people in these countries, as well as a further 850,000 Rohingya people in Bangladesh.

Donations will also be spent on providing soap to vulnerable families and on providing information about the dangers of the spread of the disease.

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “Coronavirus has turned all of our lives upside down in ways we could never have imagined. For those fleeing violence and conflict in the world’s most fragile places, the pandemic is a new battle that they are not equipped to fight.

“These families have already lived through trauma and upheaval. Many are now living in crowded refugee and displacement camps with little access to medical care, clean water or enough food⁠ – the bare essentials they need to survive the crisis. Millions of lives are at stake. We are urging people to donate now.”

International Development Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “We are matching generous donations from the British people to the emergency appeal pound for pound, meaning your money will go twice as far in helping to protect millions of the world’s most vulnerable people from the deadly effects of coronavirus.

“Clean water and healthcare in refugee camps are essential in containing coronavirus in the developing world – helping stop the spread of the pandemic and protecting the UK from further waves of infection.”

So far, £769 million in UK aid has been pledged globally to fight the pandemic, according to the Department for International Development.

Among the DEC’s 14 members are ActionAid UK, Age International, the British Red Cross, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief, Oxfam GB and Save the Children UK.

Those wishing to donate can do so online at Dec.org.uk, by phone on 0370 60 60 900, or text SUPPORT to 70150 to donate £10.

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Categories: British Charities, Clean Water, Collection of charities, COVID-19, DEC, News, Refugee camps, Yemen

Neighbour shouted “they probably have a bomb in them” at Muslim men delivering furniture

A white neighbour shouted, “they probably have a bomb in them” at a group of South Asian Muslim men delivering furniture to a household in the Wakefield area.

The anti-Muslim and Islamophobic incident occurred in the early evening of July 8.

Speaking to Tell MAMA, one of the men, who wish to remain anonymous, described how the neighbour repeated the hateful remark when queried by the man collecting the furniture.

The Muslim man also challenged the neighbour and said: “Why would you say that?” to which the man replied: “Because I can.” Rather than engage further, he continued unloading the furniture.

He also thought that allowing Tell MAMA to report the incident on their behalf to the police would carry more weight.

The male neighbour, who lives several doors down, is described as being in his mid-to-late forties.

Tell MAMA has documented other examples of discriminatory, harmful, and dehumanising language directed towards them which referenced bombs or explosives in recent years.

Such stereotyping which externalise Muslims as terroristic and violent threats, according to some academics, falls within a broader framework of securitisation. Theories around securitisation explore and contest the idea of a “suspect community”, the reconfiguring of social relations around distrust, and broader still, in medical contexts.

In 2018, a clear majority of Muslim men contacting Tell MAMA sported beards as a marker of their Islamic identity.

West Yorkshire Police continue to investigate the matter.

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.







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Categories: hate crime, News

South Yorkshire Police reopened hate crime investigation after Tell MAMA requested a review

South Yorkshire Police has apologised to a taxi driver and reopened their hate crime investigation after Tell MAMA raised concerns regarding the unexpected closure of a case.

On June 14, the taxi driver, who has agreed to have his story told anonymously, described the threatening and racist behaviour of a man who, when carrying an open bottle of alcohol, confronted the driver over his face mask.

The man, who was not a passenger, asked the driver: “Why are you f****** wearing a mask for?” to which the driver replied, in a calm manner, that he was wearing it due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as the man continued to be abusive, and using racist language like “P*ki”.

As the driver manoeuvred his vehicle to leave, which required a temporary pause to change gear, the racist male threw his bottle of alcohol towards the driver, as its contents splashed over both driver and passengers.

Speaking to Tell MAMA, the taxi driver described how the man had also punched his car and had not been able to drive off when he did, that the bottle may have been used as a weapon to cause him harm.

The police were informed of the attack when it proved safe for the driver to stop. A call handler took corroborative statements from the driver and the female passenger.

No officer, however, had followed up, so he began making enquiries.

But the update was unexpected: police had closed the report, as witnesses were now unwilling to provide evidence, which left the taxi driver disheartened given the physical evidence in his vehicle and his call to the police.

The taxi driver is self-employed and due to the alcohol present in the interior of his vehicle meant that he was unable to work for the rest of that evening. And, given some of the alcohol had been consumed before the attack, he feared the spread of coronavirus.

After approaching Tell MAMA for assistance, and, after providing written consent, our service requested that senior officers at South Yorkshire Police review the report which has now resulted in it reopening, and the police sent it to the Crown Prosecution Service to review.

Tell MAMA has continued to highlight the vulnerability taxi drivers face, in forms of violence, racist, and discriminatory remarks. A recent report on Islamophobia and anti-Muslim hatred in North East England, co-authored with academics from Newcastle University and Northumbria University, includes two focus groups with Muslim men and Muslim women, one of whom is a taxi driver.

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: Coronavirus, News, South Yorkshire, taxi driver