THERE’S no questioning the fact that anti-Islamic feelings spiked in the UK following the brutal slaughter of Drummer Lee Rigby by crazed Islamicists, but the number of attacks and incidences of intimidation against Muslims are nowhere near as bad as that claimed by an Islamophobia watchdog called Tell Mama.
Tell Mama, which has received £375,000 in taxpayers’ money in the last year, has been caught telling terrible porkies about cases of Islamophobia, and has now had its funding withdrawn – a move that infuriated its founder, Fiyaz Mughal.
According to this report, Mughal lost his temper when he was informed by Communities Minister, the Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster, that Tell Mama’s grant would not be renewed.
This was before the Woolwich killing.
After the Woolwich incident, Tell Mama claimed that there had been a “sustained wave of attacks and intimidation” against British Muslims, with 193 “Islamophobic incidents” reported to it, rising to 212 by last weekend.
Mughal, said he saw “no end to this cycle of violence”, describing it as “unprecedented”. The claims were unquestioningly repeated in the media.
Tell Mama and Mughal did not mention, however, that 57 percent of the 212 reports referred to activity that took place only online, mainly offensive postings on Twitter and Facebook, or that a further 16 percent of the 212 reports had not been verified. Not all the online abuse even originated in Britain.
Contrary to the group’s claim of a “cycle of violence” and a “sustained wave of attacks”, only 17 of the 212 incidents, 8 percent, involved the physical targeting of people and there were no attacks on anyone serious enough to require medical treatment.
There have been a further 12 attacks on Islamic buildings, three of them serious, including a probable arson attack on a Muslim community centre in north London, which burned it to the ground.
Tell Mama supporters launched a furious campaign of protest against The Sunday Telegraph after it disclosed the breakdown last week, with round-robin emails to the newspaper accusing it of behaviour
Better suited to the days of 1930s Germany.
One source closely involved in counter-extremism said:
Mr Mughal was giving data on attacks to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) which wasn’t stacking up when it was cross-referenced with other reports by ACPO [the Association of Chief Police Officers]. He was questioned by DCLG civil servants and lost his temper. He was subsequently called in by Don Foster and told that he would receive no more money.
A senior Liberal Democrat source confirmed the sequence of events, saying:
There was a bit of a spat. He was called in and told that ACPO had cast doubt on his figures. He was told that he would be closely monitored for the remaining period of the grant and that there would be no more money.
Tell Mama claimed in March that anti-Muslim crime was “rising”, even though the group had only been in operation at that stage for a year and had no previous figures to compare with.
Other figures, collected by the police, show that hate crime in mainly Muslim areas has fallen in the past 10 years. The only large force that collects figures on specifically anti-Muslim crime, the Metropolitan Police, reported an 8.5 per cent fall in such crimes between 2009 and 2012.
There was a spike in anti-Muslim incidents after the killing of Drummer Rigby. However, contrary to Tell Mama’s claims that it was “unprecedented”, the Met’s assistant commissioner, Cressida Dick, told MPs last week that it was “slightly less” than after previous terror attacks.
There has not been such a very big increase in attacks as we might have feared.
Mughal himself has now admitted to the BBC that the number of physical attacks was “small”.
Tell Mama has also been using its budget to threaten members of the public with libel actions for criticising it on Twitter.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake