Tell Mama UK

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Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks)
Tell Mama UK logo.png
Mission statement "to ensure that anti-Muslim incidents and attacks in the UK are mapped, measured and recorded, and support provided for victims."
Commercial? No
Type of project Anti-Muslim hate monitor
Location UK
Founder Fiyaz Mughal
Established 21 February 2012
Funding Public

Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) is a national project which records and measures anti-Muslim incidents in the United Kingdom. It is closely modelled on the Jewish Community Security Trust (CST) and like the CST it also provides support for victims, working closely with organisations such as Victim Support.

Tell MAMA was launched[1][2] on 21 February 2012 by Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government and is co-ordinated by the interfaith organisation Faith Matters.[3] Both groups were founded by social entrepreneur Fiyaz Mughal OBE, a former adviser to the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, on Interfaith and Preventing Radicalisation and Extremism.[4] The organisation's statistics have been a subject of debate.[5]


The project was set up with significant Government backing. In November 2012 Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced a further £214,000 annual funding for Tell MAMA up to October 2013.[6][7][8]

Journalist Andrew Gilligan has made claims that Government funding was later withdrawn following concern about the organisation's data collection. (See Controversies below)


By end of November 2013, the organisation had recorded 1,432 cases of abuse since its founding in February 2012.[9] On 30 January 2014 the organisation released a graphic highlighting details of mosque attacks it had recorded between January 2012 to August 2013,[10] including three bombings which took place in June and July 2013 (connected to a self-confessed white supremacist, Pavlo Lapshyn).[11]

A total of 632 incidents were recorded in its first year of operation.[12][13] One in three attackers reported to the project had links to far-right organisations.[14] Of physical incidents reported in its first year, Tell MAMA boss Fiyaz Mughal said on BBC Sunday Morning Live that 70% were against hijab or niqab-wearing women[15] and the majority of attackers were white males, aged 20–50.[16][17] In June 2013 the findings were analysed and verified by a team of academics at Teesside University, revealing that English Defence League (EDL) figures were linked to one-third of online incidents; the data said that almost two out of every three incidents were not reported to police.[18]

Mughal, interviewed on Press TV in 2012, and writing for Hope not Hate,[19] claimed that such incidents were becoming more violent and aggressive. Mughal also called on the Commonwealth of Nations to do more to combat Islamophobia.[20]

Following the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby by two Muslim extremists in Woolwich, south London, on 22 May 2013, Tell MAMA recorded 83 incidents in 24 hours, and 212 over the week.[21] During the same period, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) recorded a 'spike' of 136 anti-Muslim incidents[22] which were directly reported to its True Vision hate crime reporting service.

As of October 2013, Tell MAMA had recorded 35 attacks against mosques since the Woolwich incident, most taking place before August: most cases involved graffiti, though others involved arson, the sending of offensive DVDs, petrol bombs, smoke bombs, a suspected nail bomb, a pig's head being placed on the steps of a mosque, threats and abuse of worshippers.[23]

Reception from British Muslims[edit]

Inayat Bunglawala, founder and chair of Muslims4UK and a former media secretary at the Muslim Council of Britain, questioned Tell MAMA's links to the CST, which he linked to Zionism and neoconservatism.[24] Former Hizb ut-Tahrir extremist, and now Senior Fellow at ICSR, King's College London, Shiraz Maher writing in The Jewish Chronicle has said that:

"Tell Mama is new and, though gauche in many respects, it is badly needed. It was established by Fiyaz Mughal, who led the “Muslims Against antisemitism” campaign. Unlike most Muslim groups, Tell Mama also records intra-Muslim sectarian attacks. More importantly, it replaces the Muslim Safety Forum, an extremist group dominated by Islamists who support Hamas."[25]


Andrew Gilligan's Sunday Telegraph piece[edit]

Andrew Gilligan in two Sunday Telegraph articles (1 June 2013 and 9 June 2013)[5][26] wrote that 57% of incidents recorded by Tell MAMA in the week after the Woolwich murder took place online. He said other incidents – with the exception of two mosque attacks (one in Grimsby, the other in Essex) – were "relatively minor, such as window-breaking or graffiti".[5] Seventeen incidents involved assault on a person, although 11 of those were attempts to remove Islamic dress and none required medical treatment. According to Gilligan, Cressida Dick of the Metropolitan Police said that her force, which is one of the only forces which monitors anti-Muslim incidents, had seen fewer anti-Muslim incidents than after the 7 July bombings in 2005.[27]

Gilligan wrote that the group had had its government funding axed after concerns were raised about its methods by Don Foster, the Minister for Communities. Gilligan's report said that the decision was made before the Woolwich attack and was based on perceived discrepancies between the group’s statistics and ACPO and police records. Gilligan said "hate crime in mainly Muslim areas has fallen in the past 10 years".[26] Gilligan also mentioned two cases in mid-May, before the Woolwich incident, where Tell MAMA had "been using its budget to threaten members of the public with libel actions for criticising it on Twitter": one was against a Jewish activist who criticised the group in Twitter postings.[28] Tell MAMA also threatened action against Atma Singh, a former race adviser to the then Labour Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, after he tweeted that the organisation "gives a platform to Islamists".[26]

Tell MAMA response[edit]

The organisation responded to Gilligan's criticism by stating that online attacks were worth recording and had links to real-world incidents and wider communal tensions.[29] It produced a rebuttal to the rest of Gilligan's main accusations.[30] On funding, it said that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg confirmed in November 2012 that the project's funding of £214,000 was for one year only.[31] Prime Minister David Cameron, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles, and Communities Minister Baroness Warsi have spoken in support of Tell MAMA post-Woolwich and a subsequent rise in anti-Muslim attacks and incidents.[32][33][34]

Government advisor and academic expert on Islamophobia, Dr Chris Allen, suggested that there was likely to be significant under-reporting of anti-Muslim incidents, based on a large 2009 EU-wide survey.[35] Expert on far-right politics, Dr Matthew Feldman of Teesside University, contended that the nature of the data collected by hate-monitoring projects naturally differs to that collected by police, due to the nature of self-reporting.[36]

A BBC News report said that the data is somewhat "patchy" but noted a number of "very serious" incidents which took place in the summer of 2013, including a number of attempts to set fire to Islamic schools and mosques. It also noted that Tell MAMA "has produced an online map of alleged attacks".[37]

Tell MAMA complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) about Gilligan's report in The Daily Telegraph but the PCC found that "reporting that Mughal exaggerated the prevalence of anti-Muslim attacks, that he had not had his funding renewed, and that DCLG officials had expressed concern about his methods, was “not inaccurate.”"[38]

Charles Moore[edit]

Charles Moore, also writing in The Daily Telegraph in June 2013, followed on from Gilligan's report by stating:[39]

" frequently find that Muslim groups like Tell Mama get taxpayers' money (though, in its case, this is now coming to an end)...And you notice that many bigwigs in Muslim groups are decorated with public honours. Fiyaz Mughal, for example, who runs Tell Mama, has an OBE. Obviously it would be half-laughable, half-disgusting if activists of the EDL were honoured in this way: yet they are, in fact, less extreme than some of those Muslims who are."

Writing in the New Statesman magazine, academic Matthew Goodwin, of Nottingham University and an expert on British far-right politics, criticised both Charles Moore and Andrew Gilligan, who he said were "proved wrong" in trying to "dismiss a documented rise in attacks against Muslims following the [Woolwich] attack."[40]

Sadiq Khan and Mohammed Amin response[edit]

Criticising the approaches of Gilligan and Moore, senior Labour frontbench MP Sadiq Khan, said:

"For decades, the British Jewish community has had to contend with the belittling of anti-Semitic attacks, whether they be on headstones in cemeteries or to Synagogues or schools. While we cannot be complacent, there is, rightly, a zero tolerance to anti-Semitism whether it be oral, viral or physical. Would we be comfortable with a respected journalist writing about the Community Security Trust the way Tell Mama has been written about? Or aspersions being cast on a politician due to their Jewish faith? Would we accept the Jewish community being talked about the way the Muslim community are? The piece would be roundly criticised, and rightly so."[41]

Khan's words were echoed by deputy head of the Conservative Muslim Forum and Tell MAMA patron, Mohammed Amin, writing on the prominent Conservative Party blog, ConservativeHome:

"Given that Tell MAMA has adopted the methodology of the CST; and that the pattern of incidents that it is reporting is similar to the patterns reported by the CST – with incidents ranging from verbal abuse, internet abuse, to relatively rare cases of extreme violence – will these journalists be attacking the CST’s next report the same way? Because, as far as I can see, there is little difference between the evils of anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred, or the way in which both bodies which monitor such hatred function."[42]


Patrons of the Tell MAMA project include: Jonathan Bloch, gay rights and human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Mohammed Amin, Lord Sheikh, Sir Trevor Chinn, Amin Mawji, Sally Becker, Kristiane Backer, the Reverend Mark Oakley, and Imaan (an LGBT Muslim support group).[43]

Former head of the Community Security Trust, Richard Benson, was announced as the new Chair of Tell MAMA in April 2014.[44]


  1. ^ "Tell MAMA – Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks launched today". Community Security Trust. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Mughal, Fiyaz. "Tell MAMA offers hope for overcoming hate crime in the UK". Common Ground News. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  3. ^ Fiyaz, Mughal. "Launch of the TELL MAMA project". Tell Mama. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  4. ^ "Nick Clegg MP Appoints BME Advisors". Ethnic Minority Liberal Democrats. September 8, 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c Gilligan, Andrew (1 June 2013). "The truth about the 'wave of attacks on Muslims' after Woolwich murder". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Clegg, Nick. "Deputy Prime Minister extends funding to tackle hate crime against Muslims". Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  7. ^ "Clegg: Let’s end ‘abhorrent’ prejudice against Muslims". Manchester Evening News. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "12 November 2012". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard) (House of Commons). .
  9. ^ "Police 'failing to investigate anti-Muslim abuse'". BBC News. 24 November 203. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Timeline Map of Mosque Incidents & Attacks Between 2012-2013". Tell MAMA. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Whitehead, Tom (23 October 2014). "Ukrainian white supremacist avoids life sentence over murder and mosque bombings". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Nye, Catrin (11 March 2013). "632 anti-Muslim hate incidents recorded by Tell Mama". BBC. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Copsey, Nigel. "Anti-Muslim Hate Crime And The Far Right". Teesside University. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  14. ^ Image, Asian (11 July 2012). "Muslims being physically attacked and harassed because of their faith". Asian Image. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  15. ^ Mughal, Fiyaz. "Depressing Picture Emerges of Muslim Women Under Increasing Harassment from White EDL Supporters". Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  16. ^ Telegraph, Lancs (21 July 2012). "Free School on Track to Open in Blackburn". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  17. ^ West, Robert. "Are the Media stirring up hatred of Muslims?". Christian Council of Britain. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  18. ^ Israel, Simon (1 July 2013). "EDL 'linked to a third' of online anti-Muslim incidents". Channel 4 News. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  19. ^ Mughal, Fiyaz. "Anti-Muslim Hatred". HOPE not hate. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  20. ^ Grundy, Trevor. "Commonwealth urged to fight discrimination against Muslims in Britain". Commonwealth Journalists Association. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  21. ^ Elgot, Jessica (24 May 2013). "Woolwich Attacks: 'Massive Spike' In Anti-Muslim Attacks Including Death Threats And Vandalism". Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  22. ^ "True Vision Sees increase in Anti-Muslim Hate reports". ACPO. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  23. ^ Mama, Tell. "Mosque attacks 22/05/13 - 17/10/13". TELL MAMA. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  24. ^ Bunglawala, Inayat (26 February 2012). "‘Tell MAMA’: Not Off to a Good Start!". Inayat's Corner. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  25. ^ Maher, Shiraz (30 June 2013). "A new face of British Islam is rising. It needs your help". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  26. ^ a b c Gilligan, Andrew (9 June 2013). "Muslim hate monitor to lose backing". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  27. ^ "Muslim Group Monitoring 'Hate Crimes' Loses Funding for Lying | #1 News Site on the Threat of Radical Islam". 13 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June. 
  28. ^ "UK Muslim group says it will sue Jewish activist | The Jewish Chronicle". 14 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  29. ^ "Anti-Muslim Incidents On Twitter And Facebook Are Not Minor Attacks, Tell Mama Says". Huffington Post UK. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  30. ^ Mughal, Fiyaz. "Gilligan & the Reductionists". TELL MAMA. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  31. ^ Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (8 November 2012). "Deputy Prime Minister extends funding to tackle hate crime against Muslims". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  32. ^ Ali Shah, Murtaza (9 August 2013). "PM Cameron helps prepare big iftar, listens to Muslim concerns". The News. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  33. ^ Pickles, Eric. "Letter to Farooq Murad MCB". Department for Communities and Local Government. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  34. ^ Warsi, Sayeeda (28 July 2013). "Breaking bread and Islam myths". The Independent. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  35. ^ Allen, Chris. "Why the 'Daily Telegraph' And 'Daily Mail' Are Wrong About Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  36. ^ Feldman, Matthew. "Comment: Centre-right columnists are legitimising the EDL". Retrieved 24. 
  37. ^ Casciani, Dominic (24 July 2013). "Are anti-Muslim hate crimes rising?". BBC News. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  38. ^ "'Tell Mama' did exaggerate anti-Muslim attacks: PCC rejects all Fiyaz Mughal’s complaints against us"
  39. ^ Moore, Charles (14 June 2013). "Woolwich outrage: we are too weak to face up to the extremism in our midst". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  40. ^ Goodwin, Matthew (14 October 2013). "The myth of the academic "anti-fascist industry"". New Statesman. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  41. ^ Khan, Sadiq (20 June 2013). "Why Charles Moore is wrong about British Muslims". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  42. ^ Amin, Mohammed. "Don't shoot the messenger who reports on anti-Muslim hatred". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  43. ^ MAMA, Tell. "Patrons of the programme". Tell MAMA. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  44. ^ Jeory, Ted (6 April 2014). "Muslims attack helpline for victims of anti-Muslim hatred". The Express. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 

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