A publicly-funded campaign which tracks hate crimes against Muslims recorded more than 600 incidents during its first year of operation.
The ‘Tell MAMA’ (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) project said a majority of the victims of the 632 attacks were women, with online abuse – using Twitter and Facebook – targeting Muslims particularly rife.
Tell MAMA is run by Faith Matters, an interfaith organization that works towards combating extremism and tensions between communities of differing faiths.
Among the incidents logged by Tell MAMA was one of a five-year-old girl left unconscious in the road by a hit-and-run driver, a pig’s head left in the front garden of a home belonging to an Afghan family; a family in Northamptonshire receiving a cross wrapped in pork meat and a young Somali woman who had faeces thrown at her hijab.
Anti-Muslim hate online makes up the vast majority of the attacks, 74%, with even high-profile Muslims like Baroness Warsi and Jemima Khan targeted on Facebook and Twitter.
The report cited one attack on Khan on Twitter, referring to Khan’s son, on Twitter user wrote: “pure trailer trash, suppose you are grooming him 2b a suicide bomber……that’s wat ye MUSLIMS do. #verminpaki#”
Around 6% involve attacks on mosques or people’s homes.
The director of Faith Matters, Fiyaz Mughal, said: “Islamophobia is disgusting and poisonous. We need to reduce the volume of online hate towards Muslim communities, but we also need to create some framework for the police and other institutions to get them to up recording and prosecutions in this area.”
Mr Mughal also said police are failing in their duty to protect, saying police “frequently fail to take victim statements, fail to appreciate the terrifying effects of these incidents on women and vulnerable children.”
“Few police forces even bother to record Islamophobia as part of their reporting systems. More training is needed at a time when police are facing budget cuts; we need more leadership too from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which, unhelpfully, has talked about fewer rather than more social media prosecutions.”
– Staff Reporter