Some days I experience a backlash just as massive as that. And I get through it without all the “endemic fear”. But UK Muslims are fragile souls who, when they aren’t chopping away at a prone soldier, fold into the fetal position and weep helplessly when someone says a nasty thing about them on the internet.
Fiyaz Mughal runs a project called Tell Mama, which receives £214,000 a year from the Government to monitor anti-Muslim attacks in Britain. In the wake of Drummer Lee Rigby’s murder, he has been understandably busy.
There has, said Mr Mughal, been “a wave of attacks, harassment, and hate-filled speech against Muslims … an unprecedented number of incidents”, including “a rise in street harassment of Muslims – unprovoked, opportunistic attacks from strangers as Muslims go about their lives”.
He added: “Over the past week or so, these sorts of hate crimes have noticeably increased in number and, in many instances, become more extreme.
“The scale of the backlash is astounding … there has been a massive spike in anti-Muslim prejudice. A sense of endemic fear has gripped Muslim communities.”
Yes, I hear there was an attempt to detonate a series of bombs in mosques… no wait, that was something Muslims did. Also there was the time that two Brits ran down a Muslim and began to saw off his head in the name of… no wait, those were things Muslims did to Brits.
But okay how high a scale has the massive backlash and wave of attacks and endemic fear been taking place on?
Talk of a “massive anti-Muslim backlash” has become routine. And it is that figure issued by Tell Mama – of, to date, 212 “anti-Muslim incidents” since the Woolwich murder – which has formed the basis of nearly all this reporting.
Yet the unending “cycle of violence” against Muslims, the unprecedented “wave of attacks” against them from strangers in the street, the “underlying Islamophobia in our society” – all turn out to be yet more things we thought we knew about Woolwich that are not really supported by the evidence.
Tell Mama confirmed to The Sunday Telegraph that about 120 of its 212 “anti-Muslim incidents” – 57 per cent – took place only online. They were offensive postings on Twitter or Facebook, or comments on blogs: nasty and undesirable, certainly, but some way from violence or physical harm and often, indeed, legal. Not all the offending tweets and postings, it turns out, even originated in Britain.
So most of these “incidents” consisted of people, probably many of them Americans, posting things on the internet.
Last November, the cross-bench Asian peer, Baroness Flather, told a newspaper it was “pointless for the Conservatives to chase Muslim votes. They are all on benefits and all vote Labour”. Tell Mama added this remark to its database as an “anti-Muslim incident.”
But there are different kinds of benefits. There’s the regular dole and there’s Fiyaz’s £214,000 government Islamophobia dole. Oops, I think I just made another “incident”.
So how much of this “massive backlash” that spread “endemic fear” and bouts of kameez wetting actually involved anything physical?
Fewer than one in 12 of the 212 “incidents” reported to Tell Mama since Woolwich – 17 cases (8 per cent) – involved individuals being physically targeted.
Right. And reportedly none of the incidents involved head chopping. That only goes the other way. Wow, another incident. Better add that to the total.
Six people had things thrown at them, said Mr Mughal, and most of the other 11 cases were attempts to pull off the hijab or other items of Islamic dress.
The sort of thing you would encounter at school.
The Telegraph has been unable to find a single confirmed case since Drummer Rigby’s death where any individual Muslim has received an injury requiring medical treatment.
Tell Mama’s Twitter feed reported one such incident, of a Muslim woman “knocked unconscious” in Bolton, but the local police said they had no knowledge of this and did not believe it happened.
Maybe she was knocked unconscious by a particularly harsh Facebook post?
Mr Mughal is in no doubt what lies behind it all. As he told a newspaper: “I do not see an end to this cycle of violence. There is an underlying Islamophobia in our society and the horrendous events in Woolwich have brought this to the fore.”
I think Mr. Mughal suffers from Anglophobia. Maybe someone should see if they can score a few hundred thousand pounds of gov money to assemble a Twitter feed of Muslim Anglophohic “incidents”.