Over the last nine days my colleagues and I at Tell MAMA – an organisation which supports victims of anti-Muslim hatred – have been subjected to some of the worst harassment on our telephone lines in the four years since we first started. The extent of the racist, sexist and anti-Muslim abuse we have received has left the organisation unable to function. My colleagues have been subjected to monkey noises, abuse and general intimidation.
…. We’ve had the experience of trying to report cases to the police on behalf of victims, only to be told by Met call handlers that the victims themselves must call, which shows they simply are not aware of third party hate crime reporting agencies. When Met officers have come to see us, to take down evidence from victims of anti-Muslim hate who have been abused on Twitter, the police have said they do not use social media and have no clue how Twitter works.
These are not isolated incidents – the Met has real issues when it comes to frontline officers understanding how social media works, the impact on individuals and the application of laws in relation to online hate incidents. Training in these areas is crucial if the Met is to maintain the confidence of victims. [Fiyaz Mughal, 690 comments]
[TOP RATED COMMENT 552 votes] The incidents collated by tellMAMA are no doubt upsetting for those on the receiving end, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the UK is one of the least racist places on the planet.
In the wake of the appalling wave of Islamist violence across Europe, that the response has been limited to the odd incident of shouting on buses or abusive tweets speaks volumes.
[2ND 503] Blaming a recent rise of “islamaphobia” on Brexit seems a bit disingenuous given other current goings on around Europe.
[3RD 429] You keep mentioning Brexit as the most recent “trigger”, but no mention of Nice, Rouen or recent events in Germany?
[4TH 423] “The response from the Met was jaw-dropping. Not only did it transpire that they had lost numerous call logs we had made of incidents since 2012, their threat assessment regarding Tell MAMA and its staff was that we were considered “low risk”.”
The thing is, you are at “low risk”. Yes, monkey noises are bad as is any racist abuse and the perpetrators should be punished; however, you are not in a position where (like Salman Rushdie for example) you are at risk of having gun-wielding or knife-wielding fanatics coming for you. The police have to prioritise and their first job should be to protect life and limb. Once we no longer have homicidal maniacs walking the streets trying to behead people then maybe we can focus on the threats and name-calling.
[5TH 396] The police have no business investigating Twitter accounts when there are real world rapists and thieves they could be investigating. [Guardian Cif] Read more