We have today received notice of a young Bradfordian woman who got in touch with us after receiving our tweet on the excellent article from Owen Jones of the Independent. The Owen Jones article can be found here.
We were informed that 4 pig’s heads were left in the compound of her home and the anti-Muslim prejudiced event took place last Friday on the 14th of June 2013. Recently, TELL MAMA has received unwarranted, selective and inaccurate coverage of our work on supporting victims of anti-Muslim prejudice and methodically logging these incidents. TELL MAMA has been based on the Community Security Trust’s model of hate crime reporting.
So coming back to the pig’s head anti-Muslim incident that took place last Friday against this Bradfordian woman, if we are to read and digest Andrew Gilligan’s articles, he would suggest that since this woman has not suffered any physical damage such as a serious assault, there is no real backlash or anti-Muslim prejudice that is taking place. That is precisely what his articles point at. That since there has been no serious violence (here he dismisses 12 mosque attacks and 2 arson attempts against centres), Islamophobia or anti-Muslim prejudice is not as widespread an issue and that those reporting it, like TELL MAMA, ‘exaggerate’ the data and focus on minor incidents. In other words, our work is dismissed since it does not suit the picture some want to paint of an existential threat of Islamists ‘under the bed, in the cupboard and frankly everywhere within Muslim organisations.‘ For these individuals, TELL MAMA is the background noise which is showing community concerns and anti-Muslim prejudice, though for them, this is troubling. Talk of anti-Muslim prejudice to them is taking away from the ‘Munich agenda’ of 2011. So, these attacks on TELL MAMA have been political. They can be couched in what may seem like intellectual rigour, though look underneath the comments and it shows a complete lack of understanding about third party hate crime reporting work.
So, the politics of wanting to get back onto the Munich agenda which Cameron launched in 2011, means that the voices of victims that we work with are ignored by Telegraph writers. The feelings, perceptions, experiences and thoughts of victims have therefore simply been disregarded in the Telegraph pieces. This is nothing less than shameful. Tell that to the Bradfordian woman who had to clean the pig’s heads from her garden and burn them. Tell that to her family who suffered the humiliation and distress. Then tell that to the Muslim neighbours either side of the house who fear that they may be next. If that does not make you understand the impacts of hate incidents and crimes, then you might want to go and work for one of the broadsheets.