Over the last 10 months I have been subjected to a hate campaign that involved a West Midlands based Timothy Martin Burton, who through a variety of accounts, targeted me because of my faith and on the back of a series of articles highlighting the TELL MAMA Islamophobic monitoring project. Whilst Timothy Martin Burton’s @catstrangler101 account was reported to the local police and through ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officer) contacts, no action was taken even though multiple tweets were targeted at TELL MAMA (of which I am the Director) and which specifically named me. It was at this point where we decided to act and information was provided by TELL MAMA to West Midlands Police which linked Timothy Martin Burton to the @catstrangler101 M-CAT account that had over 6,000 Twitter followers, many of them Far Right sympathisers. A look at this account provided us with an insight into the mind-set of Timothy Martin Burton when we found a tweet from the 18th of May 2012 which read:
“#ThingsWeAskGod2HelpUsWith – Getting rid of all the inbred, parasitic, welfare scrounging Muslim paedophiles out of our country for a start.”
The campaign against me was triggered off after an Andrew Gilligan article that was written in the Telegraph on the 2nd of June 2013. The subsequent campaign by Timothy Martin Burton went onto March 2014 and was conducted by Burton through Twitter and through a number of Far Right and extremist web-sites that crossed the United States, the UK and Australia. In one of the postings on a bizarre and virulently anti-Muslim Australian focussed web-site, Timothy Martin Burton stated, “Excellent post Mike, and I shall be reposting it far and wide, a strategy that will no doubt include the hire of an enormous billboard situated right outside Fiyaz Mughal’s office window.” We will come onto the statements made by that article and by Mike Holt, the owner of the site. In fact, a quick look at the site shows a campaign to donate to the Restore Australia web-site to ban the Bendingo Mosque campaign in Australia. Hardly impartial, the Restore Australia project is a patchwork quilt of xenophobic, anti-Muslim and extreme comments and articles.
So, what were the targeted tweets that were aimed at us? On the 2nd of June 2013, we received the following tweet after the Gilligan article went live on the Telegraph web-site. It was addressed to @tellmamauk, the Twitter address for the anti-Muslim hate crime monitoring project and also included the English Defence League Twitter address. Coming from Timothy Martin Burton it read:
“@Official_EDL, @tellmamauk: Let’s stick it to that mendacious taquiyya (sic) artist Fiyaz Mughal.”
For those not aware of the meaning of the word ‘Taqiyya’, we have listed the context and the meaning in this previous article. Clearly, in this context, the term was used to suggest that I, because of my faith, lied to spread, protect or further Islam. The narrative is virtually identical to the twisted anti-Semitism of Far Right groups who see Jews as maliciously wanting to subvert the Christian West by taking over positions of assumed power. In this context, it was targeted at me, because of my faith.
On the 3rd of June 2013, I received another tweet from an account named FreedomLovin’Terrier @ardentadmirer1. It read as:
“Breaking News @tellmamauk: Mendacious Muslim scumbag Fiyaz Mughal agrees not to tell any more porkies if UK Gov’t give him back his £214,000 back.” We believed this to be Timothy Martin Burton given the use of the same vocabulary in the tweet.
Again on the 3rd of June 2013, we received a further tweet from Timothy Martin Burton’s @catstrangler101 M-CAT account which stated the following:
“#MyJihad – the taqqiyya (sic) by @tellmamauk about the ‘wave of attacks on Muslims’ after the Woolwich Islamic murder.” A link was also attached to this tweet directed at us in TELL MAMA and naming me and isolating me out for my faith because of the taqiyya suggestion.
Once again on the 3rd of June, Timothy Martin Burton sent us another tweet from his M-CAT @catstrangler101 account which stated:
“@tellmamauk – I wish to report Fiyaz Mughal for being a mendacious, grievance-mongering little Muslim scumbag and I want my £214,000 back.” These tweets were retweeted by a coterie of Far Right activists on-line.
On the 9th of June Timothy Martin Burton’s M-CAT @catstrangler101 account went into action again and he targeted me specifically again. It read as:
“#MyJihad – Thanks to M-CAT, the mendacious little scumbag Fiyaz Mughal @tellmamauk has had his funding withdrawn.”The tweet ended with a link and was referenced to another article written by Andrew Gilligan which asserted that our funding had been withdrawn because TELL MAMA had, according to the Telegraph, overplayed the backlash against Muslim communities and which we had previously challenged in TELL MAMA. However, what is clear is that after the murder of Lee Rigby, there was a sharp rise in anti-Muslim hate incidents and crimes and these can be further triangulated here and here. I don’t choose to go over the whole debate since this matter is now in the past and TELL MAMA and the work that we do must move forward for the sake of the people that we are helping – victims of anti-Muslim hatred.
Timothy Martin Burton continued with his hate campaign stating in a tweet on the 15th of June 2013 through the M-CAT @catstrangler101 account:
“#FamousMuslimQuotes – “Yes infidel, Islam has always been at the forefront of medical technology. Now shut up and drink this camel piss.”
He carried on with a further tweet to the 6,000 plus followers and to the Twitter-sphere saying:
“#MyJihad Hey kuffar! Fed up with Islam? Don’t like your Muslim neighbours? Mosque in your area causing a problem? Call 1-800-DRONE-STRIKE now!” Two references were made here and the first being a twist on the use of the #MyJihad hashtag which was being used by some Muslim Twitter users to take away the violent nature of the assumptions of the word and the latter was a reference to the drone strikes conducted in a few Muslim majority countries, such as Pakistan. Burton was using this as a way of further inflaming sentiments within Muslim communities.
On the 18th of June 2013, Timothy Martin Burton, again through the now infamous M-CAT @catstrangler101 account tweeted the following:
“FYI I don’t like having to refer to Muslims as shit-for-brains, but indoctrination with Islam removes capacity for constructive thinking.”
On the 19th of June 2013, Timothy Martin Burton went onto tweet the following:
“#MyJihad – Not all Muslims are terrorists, paedophiles, retarded fuckwits our pushy little inbred welfare parasites with shit for brains.”
“@Little_Otto – Unfortunately I am restrained by the 140 char limit but I think we can safely say that misogyny is a defining characteristic.” This tweet referred to Muslims.
“@ellierogerz @SarveshKrDev – At the end of the day, Islamic ideology is not just an alternative viewpoint. It IS pure, unmitigated evil.”
So prolific was Timothy Martin Burton on Twitter that he decided to contact us at the beginning of September 2013. Through a separate account, which we believed to be his, he tweeted through @Muhammadtehpig (sic):
“#My Jihad – the Taqqiyya by @tellmamauk about the wave of attacks on Muslims after the Woolwich Islamic murder.”The tweet was identical to the one sent to us on the 3rd of June 2013 through his M-CAT @catstrangler101 account. So here was Burton using another account which he described as, “the Sous Chef of Allah’s Snackbar. Signature dishes include bacon and pork sausages. BBQ’d over a bed of burning Qu’rans for that special charcoal flavour. #TGDN #TCOT.”
In fact, from that same account, 7 minutes later he targeted us at TELL MAMA again with the following tweet:
“Breaking News @tellmamauk Mendacious Muslim Scumbag Fiyaz Mughal agrees not to tell any more porkies if UK Govt give him back his £214,000.” This tweet was not only identical in its nature to the one on the 3rd of June 2013 sent from another account we believe was associated with him (@ardentadmirer1), it also listed monies identical in amount to the ones emanating from his infamous @catstrangler101 account. In fact a further set of tweets were sent and targeted at TELL MAMA which went on until the 22nd of September 2013.
The Arrest of Timothy Martin Burton
Timothy Martin Burton was finally arrested by West-Midlands police after we within TELL MAMA made the case of a direct link to the @catstrangler101 account. Timothy Martin Burton was bailed on the proviso that no contact was made with myself. Part of this assumption was that he would not contact the @tellmamauk Twitter address, yet on the 18th of January 2014 Timothy Martin Burton was active again on Twitter. The following tweet again demonstrated his views of Muslims or ‘Mohammedans’ as he called them. This came through his @catstrangler101 account:
“#MyJihad – Apologies for using ‘Mohammeddans’ in my previous post when what I meant was – terrorist, paedophiles and inbred welfare parasites.”
Timothy Martin Burton followed this tweet with one on the 1st of March 2014, some 5 weeks before the trial at Birmingham Magistrate’s court. From the usual @catstrangler101 account it stated:
“Threatening arrests over a tweet – the mendacious grievance-mongering taqqiyya (sic) artists @tellmamauk are at it again.”So not only did he breach his bail conditions, Timothy Martin Burton continued to target and promote anti-Muslim hate publicly and openly on the Twitter platforms, including us at TELL MAMA knowing that I would probably come across the material as the Director of the project.
Links to Far Right Sites
Over the course of 2013, we had provided significant evidence to West-Midlands police as to internet links that Timothy Martin Burton had with Robert Spencer in the US. One of the doyennes of the virulently anti-Muslim so called counter-Jihad network, Robert Spencer has been banned from entering the UK by the Home Secretary.A further appeal also failed and the initial letter from the Home Office to the anti-Muslim blogger Robert Spencer read,
“After careful consideration, she [the Home Secretary] personally directed that you should be excluded from the United Kingdom on the grounds that your presence here is not conducive to the public good.”
“The Home Secretary has reached this decision because you have brought yourself within the scope of the list of unacceptable behaviours by making statements that may foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.”
Furthermore, Timothy Martin Burton was responsible for writing numerous blogs about TELL MAMA and I on the virulently anti-Muslim Liberty GB site which we have raised before. Further information on the anti-Muslim Far Right Liberty GB site can be gained through this link. Interestingly during one of his discussions on the Liberty GB site in January 2014 with a Sheryl McNaught whom TELL MAMA have highlighted before, Timothy Martin Burton stated,
“Hi Sheryl, it’s interesting that TellMamaUK are monitoring your posts on this site. I’m going to make sure Fiyaz Mughal gets his clock cleaned over his fraudulent and mendacious activities. By the time this trial is over his name is going to be mud throughout the world…………… Of course Liberty GB is in no way racist or Islamophobic, so if you wish to continue posting here then feel free, there’s nothing TellMamaUK can do about it.”
One of Timothy Martin Burton’s Australian pals is a Mike Holt of Restore Australia. A read of this bizarre and vitriolic twisted site with its deeply anti-Muslim views is not only stomach churning, it demonstrates the on-line virulently anti-Muslim connections that Timothy Martin Burton had built up. So coming back full circle to the earlier statement that Timothy Martin Burton made of circulating this material far and wide, this is a brief example of what Burton wanted to circulate written by the bizarre Mike Holt:
“If Islam was not in the UK……… he (Fiyaz Mughal) would not be standing on his two hind legs to bleat about an insult that called him such terrible names as mendacious grievance mongering taqqiyya (sic) artist, and a lying Muslim scumbag.”
This small segment of this virulently twisted and hate filled blog showed who Timothy Martin Burton connected with and who he had reached out to for support. (Interestingly, so buoyed up is Timothy Martin Burton that he has set up his own Wikipedia Page that can be found here. Interestingly, the person who set it up – is a certain Timothy Martin Burton).
On Tuesday the 8th of April 2014, after 2 hours of cross-examining by the solicitor of Timothy Martin Burton and after completely rebutting a confused and bizarre defence put up by the solicitor, I learnt that the defendant had been released. The judge stated that the CPS had not made its case on the racially aggravated harassment charges. Yet, what is worrying is that this case was less about race and more about my perceived religious background as the language and terminology shows.
One of these reasons the case failed, was because a Crown Prosecution Service who even with all of the information provided by us, could not make the case. Furthermore, this case was also based on the use of the term taqiyya which we have listed before and which the CPS did not back up with further specialist testimony or evidence. It also felt to me that the CPS was struggling to fully make the case on the terminology of anti-Muslim hate terms used – taqiyya in this case, (and given the background of Timothy Martin Burton and his links to Far Right groups), the context of the hate was clear.
On the issue of the term ‘taqiyya’, two years of work on anti-Muslim language and rhetoric shows that the frequency of the word is significant in anti-Muslim rhetoric targeted at Muslims as this article show. The CPS did miss out on the network and connections that Timothy Martin Burton had with Far Right sites and the lesson from this case is that much more work needs to be done on understanding the language of anti-Muslim hate. (Whilst, I can move on from this experience, what would the impact of such a verdict have on a Muslim visible female for example, and how would it make her feel about others or non-Muslims even).
Last but not least, what message does the verdict send out to British Muslims who may be targeted and called ‘taqiyya’ (lying because of their faith) Muslim scumbags? More than ever, what this case shows is that the CPS and its understanding of language around anti-Muslim hate lags well behind where things are today. Saying that, I will continue to work with the CPS since this is the way to ensure real change for victims who suffer targeted hate and intimidation. If we can make any changes to reduce and alleviate their suffering, then all of this would have been worth it and I am a firm believer that changes takes time and that consistency, tenacity and strong evidence builds that change. I also believe in State institutions and whilst I did not achieve the justice that I wanted, no doubt, change is coming and it is on the horizon.