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Anorak | Tell Mama: using the ‘truth’ to attack Muslim victims in light of the Woolwich murder of Lee Rigby

Tell Mama: using the ‘truth’ to attack Muslim victims in light of the Woolwich murder of Lee Rigby

by | 3rd, June 2013

TEll MaMa

WHAT is a hate crime? The Home Office  defines  it as:

[crimes] committed against a person or property that is motivated by hostility towards someone based on their disability, race, religion, gender-identity or sexual orientation, whether perceived to be so by the victim or any other person.

After the murder of Lee Rigby, the Guardian reported that anti-Muslim hate crimes were suddenly on the rise:

Sharp rise in reported cases, including attacks on 10 mosques, raises fears of sustained targeting of Muslim communities

We were told that in the week following Lee Rigby’s murder in Woolwich, there were around 200 Islamophobic incidents reported. They were not all reported to the police. The petrol bomb attack on a mosque in Grimsby was reported to police. Stuart Harness, 33, and Gavin Humphries, 37, have been charged with arson with intent to endanger life.

The cast majority of incidents were recorded by Faith Matters’  Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks):

The TELL MAMA national project can support and assist individuals if they have been subjected to anti-Muslim prejudice or Islamophobia, whether through a street-based, on-line or institutionally based incident. 

It invites Muslims to tell them if they have been a victim of any of the following:

What are the classifications of attack?

Attacks are classified as follows:

1. Extreme Violence – i.e, a violent attack on a person / property that has the potential to cause the loss of life or Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH).

2. Assault – i.e, a physical attack against a person which does not pose a threat to their life and is not GBH. This includes objects being thrown at someone, even if the object misses.

3. Damage and Desecration of Property – i.e, this includes anti-Muslim graffiti being daubed on Muslim property and damage to vehicles motivated by anti-Muslim hatred.

4. Threats – Any clear and specific threat, whether physical, verbal or written. If the threat is not clear and specific then the incident should be recorded as Abusive Behaviour.

5. Abusive Behaviour – Verbal or written anti-Muslim abuse.

6. Anti-Muslim Literature – Mass produced and mass mailed literature with anti-Muslim content.

How high or low they set the bar will be interesting.

Its parent outfit Faith Matters is:

Faith Matters is a not for profit organisation founded in 2005 which works to reduce extremism and interfaith and intra-faith tensions and we develop platforms for discourse and interaction between Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jewish and Hindu communities across the globe. We have offices in the United Kingdom, Pakistan and the Middle East (Jerusalem)

It’s an interesting group. In 2011, Faith Matters launched a paper on Secular reforms of the Ottoman Empire :

The Ottoman Empire is often presented, by such groups as a model political system upon which to re-build a global Caliphate. Osama bin Laden marked the decline of the Ottoman Empire as the fall of Islam that the Islamic world “has been tasting this humiliation and this degradation for more than 80 years” and that “the righteous Khilafah will return with the permission of Allah”. Through the implementation of an Islamic legal and political system, extreme groups who mis-use the Islamic faith call for the rejection of liberal values and the current systems in place, which do not fundamentally clash with Islam.

The short paper authored by Ishtiaq Hussain who has long studied such ideologies, offers a new challenge to these claims, arguing that the Ottoman Empire bares little resemblance to the model proposed by such groups.  In focusing on the period known as the Tanzimat (1839-1876), Hussain shows that the Ottomans were in fact attempting to secularise their laws and state institutions rather than implementing religious laws into State laws.

These are some of the key findings in the report which show that:

Homosexuality was decriminalised
Ottoman society in general moved away from punishments such as stoning
The death penalty for Apostasy was not implemented

Islamists often bypass these facts and use a warped interpretation of history in order to weave their own narrative into mainstream debate; using their own projected picture of a perfect Ottoman society living under a deeply rigid interpretation of Shariah Law in order to argue for the building of a modern day Islamic Caliphate. Those who spin this historical account help to prop up a narrative used as an ideological basis for extremism. The attacks of 9/11 were even marked by Bin Laden as “a great step towards the unity of Muslims and establishing the righteous caliphate”.

All valid work, then.

Tell MAMA’s co-ordinator, Fiyaz Mughal, was quoted on the post-Woolwich violence:

“These things are cumulative and I do not see an end to this cycle of violence. There is an underlying Islamophobia in our society and the horrendous events in Woolwich have brought this to the fore and inflamed the situation.”

But not everyone is a bigot. Far from it.

The Guardian then followed up with a pieced called “Attacks on Muslims: numbers in detail” :

It’s been almost a week since the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich. During that time, many have considered the consequences of the two attackers’ actions for Britain’s crime policy, its foreign policy and its media.

The media cry against giving terrorists the oxygen of publicity whilst broadcasting graphic pictures and giving weight to one of the two alleged killer’s words, elevating him from

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Posted: 3rd, June 2013 | In: News Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink