On an evening full of celebration and reflection, let us first focus on upon the former. In the last year alone, TELL MAMA took significant strides and was successful in a number of areas and these are included below. We were involved in:
- Assisting over 1,000 victims of anti-Muslim prejudice (both online and offline). Many victims are visible and non-visible Muslim women.
- Ensuring the arrest of over 120 individuals who promoted or disseminated anti-Muslim hate material. Over about 90 individuals were successfully charged and prosecuted.
- Providing training to police forces on understanding the language of anti-Muslim hate.
- Ensuring a multi-agency approach which ensured that over 300 victims of anti-Muslim abuse received the necessary support.
- Undertaking outreach work across the UK to help the victims of anti-Muslim prejudice report crimes and receive the necessary victim support.
- Helping Twitter reconsider how it works with hate crime third-party reporting centres in England and Wales.
The importance of the TELL MAMA project is best reflected in the victims it supported. A short video featured a female victim who described the organisation as her ‘lifeline.’ Another victim of online abuse recounted her harassment by the Far-Right on Twitter; an abuse that spiralled into threats and a greater sense of fear. But TELL MAMA’s intervention helped spur the police into stopping the abuse.
Other notable speakers included Liberal Democrat MPs Vince Cable and Simon Hughes. Both spoke of the necessity of access to victim support and in tackling anti-Muslim bigotry.Yet, many do not report abuse to the police, and that must change.
Moving forward, TELL MAMA found inspiration from the Community Security Trust (CST).The CST provides security to hundreds of synagogues, Jewish schools and communal buildings. It also collates data on antisemitism and works alongside the police and governmental bodies.
Compared to the CST (who achieved charity status in 1994), TELL MAMA are in their infancy. But the ambition of the team is to develop a similar service within three years and with only 4 staff members, Richard Benson commended the dedication, tenacity and capability of the team who have built the foundations of the work, yet there is much more to be done.
To meet this ambition, it became important to frame anti-Muslim prejudice within a wider context.
Richard Benson (ex-Chief Executive of the CST), is now co-chair of TELL MAMA. At the dinner, he made a call for others to donate so the “pivotal” work of TELL MAMA continues to grow. Peter Tatchell’s patronage also serves a similar function.
The speech of Shazia Khan, daughter of the murdered Mohammed Saleem, brought a moment of reflection. Ms Khan spoke lovingly of a father who did his best not just for his family but the wider Muslim community. Mr Saleem’s murderer, Pavlo Lapshyn, was a committed neo-Nazi terrorist. A man who wanted to ‘purify’ Birmingham of Muslims. Their dignity and pursuit for justice remains a source of inspiration. The same is true of the family of Lee Rigby.
So what principle drives TELL MAMA forward? For Fiyaz Mughal, the answer is straightforward:
“The greatest asset to our work has been the British public, a public who inherently dislike hate, intolerance and injustice.”
It is on that principle that we aim to move forward when tackling the miasma of anti-Muslim bigotry.”