‘Islamophobic’ hate crime is up by 70% in England’s capital, we’re informed by the BBC today ahead of their scheduled documentary ‘Inside Out: Behind The Veil‘ this evening. A concerning headline indeed. However, I soon applied the brakes to my outrage when I discovered Tell MAMA’s involvement.
Tell MAMA is an organisation that records instances of anti-Muslim hate in the UK. A worthy project on paper, yet they were found to be exaggerating anti-Muslim attacks last year. Fudging the data if you will.
After Drummer Rigby was beheaded on the streets of London by Muslim fanatics, Tell MAMA’s founder Fiyaz Mughal took to the airwaves to claim a dramatic rise in ‘Islamophobic’ incidents, stating “The scale of the backlash is astounding,” and “I do not see an end to this cycle of violence”.
However, as reported by Andrew Gilligan in the Telegraph:
What Tell Mama and Mughal did not tell us at the time, however, was that 57 per cent of its 212 “incidents” took place only online, mainly offensive postings on Twitter and Facebook. They did not say that a further 16 per cent of the 212 reports had not been verified. They forgot to mention that not all the online abuse even originated in Britain.
Contrary to the group’s claim of an unending “cycle of violence” and a “wave of attacks”, only 17 of the 212 incidents, 8 per cent, involved the physical targeting of people and there were no attacks on anyone serious enough to require medical treatment. The supposed Bolton attack never happened. There were a further 13 attacks on Islamic buildings, four of them serious.
Mughal wasn’t best pleased with this information being highlighted, and attempted to bring libel charges against The Telegraph. And lost. As a result, the UK government pulled their funding from Tell MAMA. Needless to say, I’m dubious of this latest data as a result and will be taking the time to comb through it.
Tell MAMA have blown their credibility long ago
Due to the history here that Tell MAMA has of making what are essentially misleading and fraudulent claims, the very fact that they are the primary source for this latest claim throws the entire claim into a shadow of considerable doubt – basically because it is them, I simply cannot take the claim seriously and it cannot be accepted at face value.
Xenophobia is real
Make no mistake, xenophobia towards Muslims is alive and well, but tends to cluster within the extreme right-wing fringe and is not mainstream.
It is my personal experience that the vast majority of humans, regardless of their specific variation of belief or non-belief are decent honourable humans who wish no harm to anybody and are quite content for others to believe whatever they wish to believe, to practice that belief, and to dress in whatever way they wish to dress to reflect that belief, and that of course is exactly how it should be. We might criticise ideas, be they political, religious, pseudo-scientific, or simply bizarre, but that is not the same thing as an irrational hatred of people simply because they happen to embrace a belief.
To illustrate that last point, Tell MAMA might indeed be doing what they are doing with the best of intentions, but unfortunately have fallen prey to a paranoid belief that Islamophobia is running rampant, and so in the face of an absence of sufficient evidence for this they proceed to cling to each and every whisper or vague hint that suggests it to be true, and then introduce all that to measure it as part of the evidence, and by doing so fail filter out the unreliable or outright false items.
Why would they do this?
Most beliefs tend to generate an “us”vs “them” mentality where those inside are the holders of truth and the high moral ground, while those outside are deemed to be the unwashed heathens or kâfirs (an Islamic term for unbeliever) and are under the control of Satan. This mode of thinking naturally tends to nurture a bit of a persecution complex. We see this in many different belief systems, it is not simply an Islamic thing and need look no further than some of the recent pronouncements of support for Kim Davies from well-known figures in US politics suggesting that soon many other Christians will be thrown into jail for simply being Christian. Hint: No guys, she went to jail because she broke the law.
In the end the effect that such absurd persecution claims actually have is to highlight that the credibility of those making or presenting them is highly questionable. Given that the BBC has permitted themselves to become the front for this latest variation of this pattern, then they might perhaps wish to pause and give a bit of a closer scrutiny to the evidence behind this latest claim, because it is now their credibility that is on the line here.