The Tell MAMA report covers verified anti-Muslim hate incidents reported to Tell MAMA from 1 January to 31 December 2015. Tell MAMA received 1,128 reports of anti-Muslim incidents from victims, witnesses and third party organisations. Each incident was added to their database as a form by a caseworker, reviewed by a senior caseworker, and analysed by a researcher. Each incident is verified as a unique, genuine anti-Muslim crime or incident by multiple members of the Tell MAMA team.
While the new report shows a significant increase in the reported and verified anti-Muslim incidents, it does not account for unreported attacks. It may also reflect better reporting.
Offline (in-person) Incidents by Geographic Location
The number of offline incidents have trebled from 146 in 2014/15 (12 months to March 2015) to 437 ‘offline’ incidents in the 2015 calendar year. This shows an increase of 300 per cent and there was an increase over time on the previous reporting period by 200 per cent. ‘Offline’ incidents happened in-person between a victim (or property) and a perpetrator.
Anti-Muslim hate impacts Muslims when they travel, shop and socialise in public
Our data shows that the hotspots of anti-Muslim hate occur when Muslims use public and private transport networks, walk in public spaces of cities, and where they do their shopping.
The largest proportion of victims are Muslim women, perpetrators are overwhelmingly male
Muslim women are more likely to be attacked than men in most settings. The largest proportion of perpetrators are white males. This means that the largest proportion of incidents involves Muslim women, usually wearing Islamic clothing – be it the hijab, abaya or niqab. Verbal abuse from men often carries misogynistic, racist and Islamophobic overtones.
Verbal abuse and assaults were most common incident types in offline cases
Of the ‘offline’ cases, 219 involved verbal abuse and 74 involved assault (including common assault, battery, as well as attempted and grievous bodily harm).
Incidents often occur near major public transport areas
It appears that areas near arterial roads in metropolitan areas experience a relatively higher level of anti-Muslim hate crime. Similarly, 84 per cent of all incidents in London recorded by Tell MAMA and the MPS occurred within 200 metres of a bus stop and 48 per cent of all incidents occurred within 100 metres of a bus stop.
Far-right, nativist hate speech about Muslims and Islam online is being normalised
A majority of cases reported to Tell MAMA in the online sphere concerned hate speech, harassment and bullying on Facebook and Twitter. Our analysis found that nativist, far-right language construed Muslims as violent rapists or terrorists and a cultural threat to Britain. Our data reveals that 45 per cent of perpetrators of online incidents are verifiably supportive of the far-right. If we could not prove far-right affiliation, it demonstrates that far-right narratives are being normalised in online discussions which directly and indirectly target Muslims online.
Allied to this, Tell MAMA found a 326% increase in street based anti-Muslim incidents and with this increment partly being due to an increase in street based hate incidents with perpetrators putting their 'hatred into action.' Additionally, many victims reported that they did not see bystanders challenging abusive perpetrators, which compounded the insecurity and alienation that they felt after experience anti-Muslim hatred.
Online Far Right Activities: Tell MAMA found that in 2015, 45% of online perpetrators of anti-Muslim hate incidents were verifiably supportive of far right extremist groups. Far right extremism, like Islamist extremism, is promoted using social media and online sources and the high percentage of far right extremists involved in this activity highlights that more understanding of such extremism is needed by social media providers and by search engine service providers such as Google.
Of the incidents Tell MAMA picked up on Twitter in 2015, 88% of incidents involved abusive language and/or harassment. 11% of incidents on Twitter involved violent threats either directed at an individual or institution, (such as a mosque), or indirect threats that refer to Islam and Muslims in general.
Also, the use of the word 'burn' in language online was particularly disturbing, which referred to direct and indirect threats and calls for attacks specifically on mosques. Of the 32 times the word appeared in cases, at least 20 instances were where burn was used as a verb in reference to mosques or the Qur'an.
Pereptrator Demographic: Data collected directly from victims also highlights that the largest proportion of incidents involved perpetrators from the ages of 13-18 years old. This is worrying considering that many opinion polls demonstrate that those in this age group are less likely than older people to harbour racist, xenophobic, and anti-Muslim sentiments. It also suggests that some teenagers are being radicalised and are moving away from the mainstream views of their age group who are much more multicultural in their orientation.
Localities of Hate: Furthermore, Tell MAMA found that areas with high concentration of Muslim populations and with high densities of transportation hubs leading to city centres are key areas where clusters of anti-Muslim hate incidents can be found.
We also found a substantial number of incidents that occurred in educational establishments, representing 11% of all incidents reported in. Given that schools are an important place for educating and socialising young people in multi-cultural settings, the fact that there are more incidents in educational institutions than took place against Muslim institutions is troubling. It also suggests that the Department for Education and Ofsted need to consider anti-Muslim bullying and hate in its evaluations of schools and that teaching staff are adequately trained to identify, challenge and combat bigotry towards Muslims in the classroom. Of the 46 incidents reported in educational institutions, 35 (76%) involved abusive behaviour or a physical attack.
Muslims in Service Industries Affected by Anti-Muslim Hatred: 2015 victim data also highlighted another troubling societal issues, that of Muslims being affected in service industries.
We found that most of the male victims in this category worked in customer service positions, (such as food preparation and delivery services, as well as the taxi and security industries). Data indicated that men working in these sectors of work were particularly vulnerable to anti-Muslim hate incidents.
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