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
Website tellmamauk.org

Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) is a national project which records and measures anti-Muslim incidents in the United Kingdom. It is 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 subject of debate in, [5] but have been referenced by the Rt Hon Theresa May MP when speaking at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors on the 23rd of March 2015.[6]

The project was set up with UK Government backing. In November 2012 Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg announced a further £214,000 annual funding for Tell MAMA up to October 2013.[7][8][9] TELL MAMA was funded for an initial period of 2 years and was funded on the basis of being self-sustaining after two years. TELL MAMA covers a range of issues and cases[10][11] and also works with mosques across the country. Journalist Andrew Gilligan wrote about the organisation's data collection in 2013 though the allegations have been disputed by TELL MAMA.[12] The group's funding was not renewed[13]after it reported a rise in Islamophobia after the murder of Lee Rigby, but did not report that the activity was online.[14]

TELL MAMA has had significant press coverage on its work to monitor anti-Muslim hate after the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris in 2015.[11] It also recently reported on the rise of school based anti-Muslim hate incidents that took place after the Paris murders.[15] TELL MAMA also reported continuing anti-Muslim hate incidents on both Facebook and Twitter.[16] TELL MAMA has also worked on some high profile cases involving alleged anti-Muslim discrimination, for example at the Savoy Hotel, where the female worker in question who alleged the anti-Muslim discrimination was represented by TELL MAMA.[10]

Findings[edit]

By end of November 2013, the organisation had recorded 1,432 cases of abuse since its founding in February 2012.[17] On 30 January 2014 the organisation released a graphic highlighting details of mosque attacks it had recorded between January 2012 to August 2013,[18] including three bombings which took place in June and July 2013 (connected to a self-confessed white supremacist, Pavlo Lapshyn).[19]

632 incidents were recorded in its first year of operation.[20][21] One in three attackers reported to the project had links to far-right organisations.[22] 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[23] and the majority of attackers were white males, aged 20–50.[24][25] 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.[26]

Mughal, interviewed on Press TV in 2012, and writing for Hope not Hate,[27] claimed that such incidents were becoming more violent and aggressive. Mughal also called on the Commonwealth of Nations to do more to combat Islamophobia.[28]

Following the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby by two Muslim extremists, Tell MAMA recorded 83 incidents in 24 hours, and 212 over the week.[29] During the same period, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) recorded a 'spike' of 136 anti-Muslim incidents[30] 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 cases involved graffiti, though others included arson, offensive DVDs, petrol bombs, smoke bombs, a suspected nail bomb, use of a pig's head, and threats and abuse of worshippers.[31]

TELL MAMA also launched its 2014[32] report which highlighted the following key points:

◾548 verified incidents (of 729) reported to Tell MAMA (a number that broadly reflects the 2012/2013 report when 584 incidents were recorded). ◾A decrease from the previous report but that reflects the documented spike of incidents following the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in 2013/2014. ◾A majority of incidents took place online (402 out of 548 or roughly two-thirds). ◾In the online sphere, a vast proportion of incidents were abusive in nature and nearly a fifth involved threats. ◾The ‘memeification’ of anti-Muslim hate online was traceable with a high number of ‘anti-Muslim literature’ incidents. ◾Nearly a fifth of service users reported repeated offline incidents of anti-Muslim hate. ◾Again, Muslim women (48 incidents) suffered more offline incidents than men (40 incidents) in the dataset. ◾44 offline cases noted that the individual, at the time of the incident, wearing traditional Islamic clothing during and the perpetrators’ were overwhelmingly white male. ◾7 offline cases involved ‘extreme violence’, 21 constituted assault and 29 involved threats. ◾Damage to Islamic institutions and personal properties totalled 15 incidents.

TELL MAMA has also maintained an updated map of all mosque attacks in England, Wales and Scotland since June 2013, post the murder of Lee Rigby that took place in Woolwich. Within 3 months of the murder of drummer Rigby, 34 mosques were attacked and incidents ranged from graffiti and broken windows, though to threats against worshippers and a bombing campaign by Pavlo Lapshyn which intersected at the time of the murder and the attacks that took place. That campaign led to the death of pensioner and grandfather Mohammed Saleem.

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.[33] Former Hizb ut-Tahrir member, and now Senior Fellow at ICSR, King's College London, Shiraz Maher wrote in The Jewish Chronicle 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."[34]

Support has ranged from British Muslims for Secular Democracy through to the Council of Mosques in Calderdale where TELL MAMA was launched in West Yorkshire.

Mughal was criticised by conservative Muslims in 2014 for inviting gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell to be a patron of Tell MAMA.[14][35]

Controversies[edit]

Andrew Gilligan's pieces in The Sunday Telegraph[edit]

Andrew Gilligan in The Sunday Telegraph (1 June and 9 June 2013)[5][13] wrote that 57% of incidents recorded by Tell MAMA in the week after the Woolwich murder were online incidents. Other incidents – with the exception of mosque attacks in Grimsby and 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 few forces which monitors anti-Muslim incidents, had seen fewer anti-Muslim incidents than after the 7 July bombings in 2005.[36]

Gilligan wrote that the group's government funding was axed following concerns about its methods raised 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".[13] 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.[37][38] Atma Singh, Former race advisor to the then Labour Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, who had been sacked from his position for creating a commercial company offering consultancy services for profit in March 2005 while still an employee of the Greater London Authority,[39] was also threatened with action by Tell MAMA after he tweeted that the organisation "gives a platform to Islamists".[13]

Tell MAMA response[edit]

Tell MAMA responded to Gilligan's criticism by stating that online attacks were worth recording and had links to real-world incidents and wider communal tensions.[40] It disputed the rest of Gilligan's main accusations.[41] 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.[42]

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.[43] 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.[44][45]

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".[46]

Press Complaints Commission finding[edit]

Tell MAMA complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) about Gilligan's report in The Daily Telegraph but the PCC found that there were no breaches of the Editor's Code in relation to accuracy.

Other media articles[edit]

Charles Moore, also writing in The Daily Telegraph in June 2013, followed Gilligan's report by stating:[47]

"...you 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, an expert on British far-right politics, criticised 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."[48]

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."[49]

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."[50]

Tweet trial[edit]

A Liberty GB radio host, Tim Burton, was arrested, charged and prosecuted for comments he tweeted about Mughal in the wake of the Islamophobia reporting controversy. Tim Burton was acquitted on 8 April 2014 in what became known as the "Birmingham Taqiyya Trial".[14]

Patrons[edit]

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).[51]

In April 2014, former head of the Community Security Trust, Richard Benson, was announced as the new Chair of Tell MAMA.[35] More recently, former Government Minister Shahid Malik was appointed as co-Chair to Richard Benson on the TELL MAMA project.

References[edit]

  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. ^ "A Stronger Britain, Built On Our Values - Speeches". GOV.UK. 2015-03-23. Retrieved 2015-07-24. 
  7. ^ Clegg, Nick. "Deputy Prime Minister extends funding to tackle hate crime against Muslims". Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. Retrieved 9 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Clegg: Let’s end ‘abhorrent’ prejudice against Muslims". Manchester Evening News. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Don Foster, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (12 November 2012). "Town Centres". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). House of Commons. 
  10. ^ a b Matt Watts (2015-07-06). "Teenage waitress: I was humiliated by Savoy staff for wearing a hijab - London - News - London Evening Standard". Standard.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-07-24. 
  11. ^ a b "London mosques 'sent death threats and drawings of Prophet Mohamed' after Charlie Hebdo attack". London Evening Standard. 2015-01-18. Retrieved 2015-07-24. 
  12. ^ "Gilligan at it Again – Attack the Vehicle Not the Data is Now the Strategy! | TELL MAMA". Tellmamauk.org. 2013-06-08. Retrieved 2015-07-24. 
  13. ^ a b c d Gilligan, Andrew (9 June 2013). "Muslim hate monitor to lose backing". The Daily Telegraph (Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c Radio host cleared over 'scumbag' tweet jibe to Musilm campaigner 4 May 2014 by Mike Lockley Birmingham Mail
  15. ^ Cahal Milmo (2015-01-23). "British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks - Education News - Education". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-07-24. 
  16. ^ Oliver Wright (2015-01-02). "Twitter and Facebook 'allowing Islamophobia to flourish' as anti-Muslim comments proliferate - Crime - UK". The Independent. Retrieved 2015-07-24. 
  17. ^ "Police 'failing to investigate anti-Muslim abuse'". BBC News. 24 November 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  18. ^ "Timeline Map of Mosque Incidents & Attacks Between 2012-2013". Tell MAMA. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  19. ^ Whitehead, Tom (23 October 2014). "Ukrainian white supremacist avoids life sentence over murder and mosque bombings". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  20. ^ Nye, Catrin (11 March 2013). "632 anti-Muslim hate incidents recorded by Tell Mama". BBC. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  21. ^ Copsey, Nigel. "Anti-Muslim Hate Crime And The Far Right" (PDF). Teesside University. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  22. ^ Image, Asian (11 July 2012). "Muslims being physically attacked and harassed because of their faith". Asian Image. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  23. ^ Mughal, Fiyaz. "Depressing Picture Emerges of Muslim Women Under Increasing Harassment from White EDL Supporters". Huffington Post UK. Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  24. ^ Telegraph, Lancs (21 July 2012). "Free School on Track to Open in Blackburn". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  25. ^ West, Robert. "Are the Media stirring up hatred of Muslims?". Christian Council of Britain. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  26. ^ Israel, Simon (1 July 2013). "EDL 'linked to a third' of online anti-Muslim incidents". Channel 4 News. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 
  27. ^ Mughal, Fiyaz. "Anti-Muslim Hatred". HOPE not hate. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  28. ^ Grundy, Trevor. "Commonwealth urged to fight discrimination against Muslims in Britain". Commonwealth Journalists Association. Retrieved 29 October 2012. 
  29. ^ 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. 
  30. ^ "True Vision Sees increase in Anti-Muslim Hate reports". ACPO. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  31. ^ Mama, Tell. "Mosque attacks 22/05/13 - 17/10/13". TELL MAMA. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  32. ^ http://tellmamauk.org/wp-content/uploads/pdf/Tell%20MAMA%20Reporting%202014-2015.pdf
  33. ^ Bunglawala, Inayat (26 February 2012). "‘Tell MAMA’: Not Off to a Good Start!". Inayat's Corner. Retrieved 28 October 2013. 
  34. ^ Maher, Shiraz (30 June 2013). "A new face of British Islam is rising. It needs your help". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  35. ^ a b Jeory, Ted (6 April 2014). "Muslims attack helpline for victims of anti-Muslim hatred". The Express. Retrieved May 8, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Muslim Group Monitoring 'Hate Crimes' Loses Funding for Lying | #1 News Site on the Threat of Radical Islam". Clarionproject.org. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  37. ^ "UK Muslim group says it will sue Jewish activist | The Jewish Chronicle". Thejc.com. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  38. ^ "Mrs Ambrosine Shitrit – ‘I am not anti-Muslim…….’; Tell MAMA". www.tellmamauk.org. 14 June 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  39. ^ "Commercial interests of Mr Atma Singh…….’; Greater London Authority". www.london.gov.uk. 21 January 2008. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  40. ^ "Anti-Muslim Incidents On Twitter And Facebook Are Not Minor Attacks, Tell Mama Says". Huffington Post UK. 3 June 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  41. ^ Mughal, Fiyaz. "Gilligan & the Reductionists". TELL MAMA. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  42. ^ Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (8 November 2012). "Deputy Prime Minister extends funding to tackle hate crime against Muslims". Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  43. ^ Allen, Chris (3 June 2013). "Why the 'Daily Telegraph' And 'Daily Mail' Are Wrong About Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  44. ^ Feldman, Matthew. "Comment: Centre-right columnists are legitimising the EDL". Politics.co.uk. [dead link]
  45. ^ "Anti-Muslim Hate Crime and the Far Right; Teesside University" (PDF). www.tellmamauk.org. June 2013. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  46. ^ Casciani, Dominic (24 July 2013). "Are anti-Muslim hate crimes rising?". BBC News. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  47. ^ 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. 
  48. ^ Goodwin, Matthew (14 October 2013). "The myth of the academic "anti-fascist industry"". New Statesman. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 
  49. ^ Khan, Sadiq (20 June 2013). "Why Charles Moore is wrong about British Muslims". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  50. ^ Amin, Mohammed. "Don't shoot the messenger who reports on anti-Muslim hatred". ConservativeHome. Retrieved 10 July 2013. 
  51. ^ MAMA, Tell. "Patrons of the programme". Tell MAMA. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 

External links[edit]