After many months of software development and a bespoke case management system which was developed by Faith Matters for the national TELL MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) project, a snapshot of over 700 cases shows the following key words which are linked to the language of anti-Muslim prejudice. The software tracks and statisticalizes key words to look at the frequency of their use in language that is targeted towards Muslims and which takes place during Islamophobic incidences.
We have listed the key terms related to Islamophobic language and the following snapshot shows the top 22 categories of terms. What this allows us to do is to look at whether national or international incidents change the language of Islamophobia and there are some basic observations that can be made.
Clearly the hashtag #EDL comes up quite high showing a predominance of people who have affiliations or are partial to the messages of the English Defence League. This term would have been written on-line in tweets or on social media statements that were sent to us by victims who thought that they were anti-Muslim in nature. What is also interesting to note is the high predominance of the racist term ‘Paki’, showing that race is sometimes associated with Islamophobic language and this throws up questions around how cases may be classified by local police forces, if language is presented to officers by the victim which demonstrates racially and religiously prejudicial terms. The other element that needs to be noted is that the Hijab, (the female religious head-covering), is mentioned in statements, followed by a heavy predominance of statements around paedophilia or grooming. In fact, if the terms related to paedophilia can be categorised into ‘sexual abuse,’ it seems that this category has become the overwhelming lens through which Islamophobic language is now framed. Sexual deviancy is therefore wrapped up in the language that is associated to anti-Muslim prejudiced incidents.
Tha language of anti-Muslim prejudice is something that we will continue to track and document, though what is clear is that whilst many Muslims previously suggested that ‘terrorist’ was a term that was targeted at Muslims post 9/11, it may well be that the language of hate has changed and is now based on issues of grooming, abuse against Prophet Muhammad and the attempt to characterise him as someone who was malevolent or in some way sexually deviant. This, the twisted narrative from Far Right groups goes, means that Muslims are inherently sexually deviant and hence they groom girls. We say within TELL MAMA, that apart from this narrative being farcical and reflective of twisted imaginations, it does say something about how language is used to dehumanize, bestialize and criminalize all Muslims, rather than focus on those small numbers of individuals who unfortunately come from all sections of communities and who prey on vulnerable young people. It is the latter we should be countering, as well as the twisted language of hate, whether Islamophobic, anti-Semitic or anti-gay in nature.