Arrest made following arson attack at a Newport mosque

Gwent Police are treating an attempted arson of a Newport mosque on George Street as a hate crime.

Officers attended the scene with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service on the evening of March 28, at around 5:28 pm.

The fire damaged the building, as worshippers extinguished the fire, as police confirmed no injuries to those in attendance.

A 43-year-old local man remains in police custody on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

Tom Harding, Chief Superintendent at Gwent Police said: “At this time, we’re treating this as a hate crime. It’s never acceptable to target anyone because of who they are and what they believe. We will take action against those who commit this type of crime, putting the victim at the heart of everything that we do.”

Given the anti-Muslim and Islamophobic nature of the incident, police have confirmed an increased presence in the local area and are urging anyone with information to come forward – either directly or anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers.

We encourage the public to contact our Casework Team with information that we can forward to the police directly or anonymously – via our contact form online.

We also urge all mosques to remain vigilant and keep our security and safety advice in mind – copies of which are free to download from our Resources section.

Tell MAMA has long documented various types of attacks on mosques – including arson and other forms of vandalism over the several years.

Anyone with information, CCTV or dashcam footage, can contact Gwent Police on social media (@GwentPolice), or by calling 101 quoting log reference 2200102416.

Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The post Arrest made following arson attack at a Newport mosque appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Gwent Police, hate crime, mosque, mosque arson, mosques, Newport, News

Neo-Nazi terror cell guilty of various terrorism and firearms offences

Neo-Nazis from the Keighley, West Yorkshire and Anglesey, North Wales, were found guilty of various terrorism and firearms offences.

The prosecution described the group as an “extreme fascist cell” in early 2021.

The fascist cell included Samuel Whibley, 29, Daniel Wright, 29, Liam Hall, 31 and their 29-year-old girlfriend Stacey Salmon, who were guilty of committing various offences.

At Sheffield Crown Court last week, it emerged that police recovered homemade explosive substances, an improvised explosive device, and components from a 3D-printed handgun at an address Hall and Salmon shared with their children.

DNA from Hall, Salmon, and Wright appeared on the “unfinished” handgun, according to the Independent.

Tell MAMA covered the initial arrests, and in the months ahead, press coverage from the trial gave us insights into their motivations. For example, Whibley spoke in contradictions: claiming to have embraced fascism to “fit in” yet admitted to reading the infamous white supremacist survivalist screed The Turner Diaries – a text which has influenced various acts of racist violence and terror.

Whibley, who hails from Angelsey in Wales, also admitted that he found the notorious screed Siege by US-based neo-Nazi James Mason “boring” – but still shared a link to it on the Telegram chat. Siege is a text revered by various neo-Nazi terrorist groups and individuals globally.

Siege has influenced a younger, more ideologically hardened and committed cohort of neo-Nazis – with several high-profile individuals later convicted of terrorism offences in the UK – all of whom were under the age of 25 (including teenagers).

Praise of the Oklahoma City white supremacist terrorist Timothy McVeigh also appeared on the Telegram chat – as did devotion of the neo-Nazi terrorist Anders Breivik.

Violent, graphic videos uploaded and revered on their Telegram channel included the livestreamed murder of 51 Muslims by a white supremacist terrorist in Christchurch in March 2019.

The murder of 51 Muslims in Christchurch has influenced various far-right terrorists domestically and internationally.

34-year-old, Dean Morrice, convicted of multiple terrorism offences last summer, took this tragedy as a form of debasing, dehumanising mockery – he strummed a guitar in time to the gunshots.

Morrice also possessed instructions on how to build a 3D printed gun.

Daniel Wright also carved Nazi swastikas into trees and took photos of himself performing fascist salutes.

An undercover police officer who infiltrated their Telegram channel monitored their racist discussions, desire for ideological terror, and their hope of avoiding falling foul of existing gun laws by seeking a 3D-printed version.

Daniel Wright, who lived on Winfield Avenue in Keighley, was found guilty of distributing a terrorist publication, possessing articles for terrorist purposes, and collecting information in breach of the Terrorism Act.

The jury also found him guilty of possessing and manufacturing a firearm.

Liam Hall, who resided in the Hill Top Walk area of Keighley, was also found guilty of possessing and manufacturing a firearm – but cleared of terrorism offences.

Stacey Salmon, who lived with Hall, was guilty of firearm offences but cleared of terrorism offences.

Samuel Whibley, however, was guilty of encouraging terrorism and distributing a terrorist publication.

Counter-terror police also recovered chemicals, weapons, guides for building explosives, and far-right propaganda material from the various addresses raided.

Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden, who leads Counter Terrorism Policing North East, said in a statement, “The vitriolic hatred expressed by these defendants went far beyond an intolerance of others. They are terrorists, with a deeply entrenched extreme right-wing mindset and a desire to act on those beliefs.”

He added that whilst the group had “no clear target” when arrested, they “pushed relentlessly for violent action in pursuit of their objectives.”

Sentencing will occur at a later date.






The post Neo-Nazi terror cell guilty of various terrorism and firearms offences appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Christchurch, Far Right groups, James Mason, Keighley, Neo-Nazi, News, Telegram, terrorism, West Yorkshire

Why did BBC Covid-19 coverage reuse the same image of a Muslim woman?

BBC Wales used the same stock image of a Muslim woman in a hijab in two unrelated Covid-19 stories in just three weeks.

The recent examples bring the focus back to a broader structural problem in the media: linking minoritised communities to a virus risks harm and stigma towards them – with the most recent example appearing yesterday (March 22).

Examples of the same stock image of the Muslim woman in a hijab across four BBC Wales articles between October 2020 and March 2022.

The most recent BBC Wales headline read “Covid in Wales: Mask and isolation rules may be extended.” And, at the bottom section, which encourages readers to click on related stories, an article published on March 4, continues to feature the same stock image in an article about the ending of mass testing for Covid-19 in Wales.

Credit: BBC Wales.

It also gained due prominence, appearing on the main coronavirus news section on the general BBC News website.

A failure to update the image cache means that the stock image continues to appear on March 4 despite the BBC updating it to feature a video.

We can also trace previous examples of the BBC using this stock image in earlier stories. Two such examples emerged within two days of each other.

The BBC, however, did amend both versions – replacing them with more generalised images. One of the images appeared under the headline “Covid: Welsh firms ‘left in the dark’ over firebreak lockdown,” published October 22, 2020. Two days earlier, a different story, headlined, “Covid: Wales’ lockdown job support gap ‘a barrier to firms’,” before a headline re-write “Covid: Redundancy warning in lockdown appeal to Treasury” and a new image headline.

The BBC did go on to update and replace the original headline and image from our fourth example. Such revisions included a new headline and a video story replacing the stock image, which appeared online on March 4, 2022.

For this article, we researched the use of this stock image via the image reverse search engine TinEye (we’ve talked about it before) to help us find any examples we may have overlooked, but the results given focused its use on the BBC. The issue of media framing, of course, is far larger than just the BBC.

The origins of the stock image we could also trace – it appeared on Getty Images a day before the first BBC article cited above on October 19, 2020 – the text begins, “A woman wears a face mask as she walks past a sign for Cardiff Market.”

It is worth noting that during our search of Getty Images to locate this example, amidst the 72 pages of results for coronavirus with a filter for Cardiff and Wales revealed that a disproportionate number of the earliest results featuring people included photos of East and Southeast Asian (ESEA), South Asian, and other ethnic minorities.

Studies and research show the link between uptakes in racism towards ESEA and Asian-American and Pacific Island (AAPI) communities across North America.

Tell MAMA and many others, including ESEA community groups, work to document, challenge, and detail why such use of stock imagery is problematising.

In broader terms, another example we cited concerned a BBC News article about the Delta variant in Bedford (re-named to avoid stigma), foregrounded a stock photo of a South Asian family under a headline that included the line, “Indian variant areas”. The article even acknowledged this variant name change, stating that Bedford was an area identified as a “hotspot for the so-called Indian variant, now named the Delta variant by the World Health Organisation”.

From racialised disinformation about Muslim communities during the national lockdowns, abuse blaming Muslims for the spread of the coronavirus when in supermarkets, to shocking assault cases where racist men have coughed on a Muslim woman or families whilst to have the virus or seeking to spread it, we have continued to document the varieties of abuse directed at Muslims during the pandemic.






The post Why did BBC Covid-19 coverage reuse the same image of a Muslim woman? appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: BBC, Coronavirus, Hijab, media framing, News

‘Warped, twisted and violent’ terrorist assassinated veteran MP, court told

A veteran Conservative MP was “assassinated” by a “committed, fanatical, radicalised Islamist terrorist”, who stabbed him to death in a church building while meeting with his constituents, a court heard.

Sir David Amess was fatally attacked by Ali Harbi Ali, who tricked his way into a face-to-face meeting with the 69-year-old Southend West MP at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15 2021.

Ali, 26, is accused of the “cold and calculated murder”, and carrying out reconnaissance over several years on targets including the Communities and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove.

Tom Little QC, opening the case at the Old Bailey on Monday afternoon, told jurors: “This was nothing less than an assassination for terrorist purposes.

“It is a crime to which, we say, he has no defence.”

Mr Little said: “This is a case involving a cold and calculated murder, a murder carried out in a place of worship.

“A murder carried out because of a warped and twisted and violent ideology.

“It was a murder carried out by that young man (Ali) who for many years had been planning just such an attack and who was, and is, a committed, fanatical, radicalised Islamist terrorist.”

Mr Little said the attack was “no spur-of-the-moment decision”, and said he bought the knife used to attack Sir David five years earlier.

The prosecutor said: “He had for a number of years been determined to carry out an act of domestic terrorism.

“To that end, from at least May 2019 he researched and planned potential attacks on Members of Parliament and the Houses of Parliament.

“This included specific reconnaissance trips to a constituency surgery of Mike Freer MP and to the home address of Michael Gove MP.

“That researching and planning is the other offence he faces, namely preparing for acts of terrorism.

“To that offence he also has, we say, no defence.”

Ali, of Kentish Town in north London, appeared in the dock wearing a black robe and black-rimmed glasses.

He denies murder and one count of preparing acts of terrorism.

The trial continues.

The post ‘Warped, twisted and violent’ terrorist assassinated veteran MP, court told appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: David Amess MP, Harbi Ali, Members of Parliament, Michael Gove MP, Mike Freer, Sir David Amess

Myanmar repression of Muslim Rohingya is genocide, says US

Violent repression of the largely Muslim Rohingya population in Myanmar amounts to genocide, US secretary of state Antony Blinken has said.

The declaration is intended to both generate international pressure and lay the groundwork for potential legal action.

Authorities made the determination based on confirmed accounts of mass atrocities on civilians by Myanmar’s military in a widespread and systematic campaign against the ethnic minority, Mr Blinken said in a speech at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

It is the eighth time since the Holocaust that the US has concluded a genocide has occurred, the secretary of state said, noting the importance of calling attention to inhumanity even as horrific attacks occur elsewhere in the world, including Ukraine.

“Yes, we stand with the people of Ukraine,” he said.

“And we must also stand with people who are suffering atrocities in other places.”

The government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, is already under multiple layers of US sanctions since a military coup ousted the democratically elected government in February 2021.

Thousands of civilians throughout the country have been killed and imprisoned as part of an ongoing campaign of repression against anyone opposed to the ruling junta.

More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Buddhist-majority Myanmar to refugee camps in Bangladesh since August 2017, when the Myanmar military launched a clearance operation in response to attacks by a rebel group.

Myanmar security forces have been accused of mass rapes, killings and the burning of thousands of homes.

US State Department experts have documented instances of Myanmar’s military razing villages and carrying out rapes, tortures and mass killings of civilians since at least 2016.

The determination that a genocide has occurred could lead to additional international pressure on the government, which is already facing accusations of genocide at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

“As we lay the foundation for future accountability, we’re also working to stop the military’s ongoing atrocities, and support the people of Burma as they strive to put the country back on the path to democracy,” Mr Blinken said.

Human rights groups and legislators have been pressing both the then-Trump and Biden administrations to make the designation, and they welcomed the announcement.

“The US determination of the crime of genocide against us is a momentous moment and must lead to concrete action to hold the Burmese military accountable for their crimes,” said Tun Khin, president of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK.

Previous determinations of genocide by the US include campaigns against Uighurs and other largely Muslim minorities in China as well as in Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq and Darfur.

The post Myanmar repression of Muslim Rohingya is genocide, says US appeared first on Faith Matters.

Categories: Blinken, Genocide, Muslim Rohingya, US Secretary of State

GUILTY: Far-right terror teen, 16, from Leeds, given Referral Order

Counter-terror police thanked the public for flagging the social media activity of a 16-year-old teen in Leeds who was later found guilty of far-right related terrorism offences.

A press release details how Counter Terrorism Policing North East investigated and subsequently arrested the teen in May 2021, re-arresting them two months later.

He entered guilty pleas at Westminster Youth Court on February 17, 2022.

The teen, whose identity remains anonymous due to their age, entered guilty pleas for offences related to the dissemination of a terrorist publication and for possession of terrorist material.

On Monday, March 14, it emerged that the young terrorist received a twelve-month referral order for each offence – which will run concurrently.

They will also have to front the costs and face a criminal behavioural order that will run until the day before they turn eighteen.

The counter-terror police press release makes clear that “Referral Orders can include reparation or restitution, as well as undertaking a programme of interventions and activities to address their offending behaviour.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Martin Snowden, who leads Counter Terror Policing North East, said: “We are immensely grateful that this was reported to police,” adding that the public should continue to report such content for the police to act.

“Through reports such as these, the work of the CTIRU and the support of online service providers, we can silence those wanting to spread hatred and protect others from the harm that takes place on online platforms,” he concluded.



The post GUILTY: Far-right terror teen, 16, from Leeds, given Referral Order appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Far Right groups, Leeds, News, terrorism

Google apologises, removes racist search about Sheffield

Search engine giant Google has apologised after the racist P-word appeared in results about the population of Sheffield, Tell MAMA can exclusively reveal.

An original version of the Google result which brought up the racist P-word term before Tell MAMA flagged it for removal with Google who actioned it.

Members of the public alerted Tell MAMA. Others made their voices heard on Twitter – calling for its removal.

The racist search, “Is Sheffield full of P***?” had appeared in mid-February under the “People also ask” function on Google – which the search engine claims “are questions that people commonly search for on Google.”

Shockingly, the P-word appeared below “What is the population of Sheffield 2020,” and “Is Sheffield the 4th largest city” in a small cluster of popular search terms directly below demographic census data (before any search results appear).

How the racist P-word appeared on Google results before removal.

The search engine does allow individuals to provide feedback and flag harmful results (including attaching screenshot evidence), which Tell MAMA did, highlighting how deeply hurtful such violent racist language has on communities.

“People also Ask” functions as the means to show related questions that users ask of Google (a SERP, Search Engine Results Pages) – which unfolds to reveal data from websites, which, in this example, took demographic data – boldening any ethnic group bracketed under “Asian” – which included Pakistani, Chinese, Indian, Bangladeshi, and ‘other Asian’.

Google did remove the racist search term, though the date of such a change remains unclear, and equally of concern is why this was able to happen.

We put these questions to Google and in a statement, issued an apology and provided Tell MAMA with more information about its safety policies.

According to Google, policies related to search features, including what “people ask” forbids content that promotes or condones violence, or content that seeks to incite hatred against minoritised individuals or groups, associated with systemic discrimination or marginalisation. Google added that the feature encourages further related topics to the original search, limited to questions “phrased using natural language”.

The spokesperson added that the “People also ask” feature is designed to prevent unhelpful, policy-violating questions from appearing – related to harmful, violent, sexually explicit or dangerous content. And, if such terms avoid the above, human moderators in Google’s enforcement teams remove that which violate its policies.

The statement, provided by a spokesperson from Google to Tell MAMA reads: “We apologise to anyone who may have been affected by these questions. We have systems in place to prevent hateful or disparaging content from appearing in this feature. If our automated systems don’t catch questions that violate our policies, we take swift action to remove them when we’re made aware of them, as we did in this case.”

Broadly speaking, an influential academic paper on the ‘dominant influence’ of search engine results on the “information ecosystem” and, in particular, the role of partisanship in Google search results – and the potential during elections, for example, to influence the voting intentions of the undecided. The findings did not find a “filter bubble” personalisation bias – though the concern of partisanship in root query results far more in root queries.

Tell MAMA has ‘trusted flagger’ status with all major social media platforms, including with Google, which allowed us to raise this issue further and see action taken.

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 message us on WhatsApp on 0734 184 6086 or message us on Twitter or Facebook by following @tellmamauk.





The post Google apologises, removes racist search about Sheffield appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Google, News, P-word, Sheffield

Far-right terror trial: 20-year-old from Aldershot denies seven charges

A man accused of various far-right terror offences denied the charges against them following their first court appearance this week.

Charles Cannon, 20, of Highfield Avenue in Aldershot, stands accused of seven counts of possessing documents likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism, following charges last month.

Counter Terrorism Policing South East led the investigation, as Cannon appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (March 9).

Cannon entered a not-guilty plea to all charges, including the claim that he allegedly downloaded material about explosives.

HampshireLive reported that Cannon spoke only to confirm their name, address, and date of birth in a hearing which lasted no more than five minutes.

The severity of the case means that a Crown Court trial is needed.

Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring issued Cannon with conditional bail, who will now appear at the Old Bailey on March 25.


The post Far-right terror trial: 20-year-old from Aldershot denies seven charges appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Far Right groups, News, Old Baily, terrorism

The Daily Star has quietly removed its inflammatory “Muslim militia” headline

The Daily Star has quietly deleted its inflammatory “Muslim militia” headline from an article about the Moscow-funded militia, the Kadyrovtsy, following Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, published yesterday (March 3).

Tell MAMA called out, as did others, the anti-Muslim content on Twitter, before the newspaper also quietly deleted the offending tweet.

No explanation or indeed an apology followed.

We submitted a complaint to the press regulator IPSO in response – and await the response.

The original headline, published at 10:19 am, read: “Russia’s elite kill squad – the Muslim militia’s bungled mission to assassinate Zelensky,” and at 13:53, ‘Muslim’ vanished from the headline.

The circled text reveals how on the left, the Daly Star used “Muslim militia” before on the right, replaced it to say ‘militia’.

The issue, however, extends beyond its headline: for its woven in the code of the article; the URL link still contains Muslim, and reads, “russias-elite-kill-squad-muslim-26374072.”

Across the news section and the home page of the Daily Star’s website, the original headline gained due prominence, as we highlighted on Twitter.

In 2021, the Daily Star quietly deleted a fabricated story about a mosque allegedly denying a gay paramedic access. It never happened.

In 2016, the sister title the Daily Star on Sunday had to amend stories linking various mosques funding terrorism, due to their significantly misleading nature.

In various annual reports and our statements, we have championed the need for structural change in newsrooms – diversifying across newsdesks and editorial levels, along with highlighting academic research and our research and news articles about anti-Muslim hate and Islamophobia issues in the press (extending to the use of stock imagery of Muslim and ESEA communities in generalised Covid-19 coverage).

We will provide further updates about our IPSO complaint where possible.


The post The Daily Star has quietly removed its inflammatory “Muslim militia” headline appeared first on TELL MAMA.

Categories: Daily Star, Journalism, media framing, News