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British Muslims Decry Police Apathy

Published: 25/11/2013 04:48:00 AM GMT
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LONDON – As British Muslims continue to fall victims of recurrent online hate messages, the police are failing to investigate these attacks, leading to increase of racial attacks against the religious minority. “It is worrying for us, given that the number of call-backs and subsequently the number of investigations that have moved forwar...(more)

LONDON – As British Muslims continue to fall victims of recurrent online hate messages, the police are failing to investigate these attacks, leading to increase of racial attacks against the religious minority.

“It is worrying for us, given that the number of call-backs and subsequently the number of investigations that have moved forward have been extremely small in comparison to the volume of hate crimes we have sent in to police forces,” Fiyaz Mughal, the founder of Faith Matters organization, which runs Tell Mama, told BBC 5 live Investigates program on Sunday, November 24.

“They go from harassment and abusive name-calling right the way through to threats - threats to come round to somebody's house and harm them, threats to attack or do something to a mosque, threats even to burn a mosque.

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“That's the level of what we are passing through and there have been numerous occasions where we have sent information about direct threats to mosques, which frankly we haven't heard anything about. That is worrying,” he added.

Recording anti-Muslim attacks, Tell Mama (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) said it has recorded 1,432 cases of abuse in the last 22 months.

After recording details of the abuse, Tell Mama reports directly to the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) hate crime reporting system.

To the shock of British Muslims, the group had only a response from police regarding 70 cases.

A 25-year-old woman was one of the victims affected by hate attacks.

The victim, who was not named, told BBC she was targeted by a man who posted a photograph of her on Twitter and called her an ugly Pakistani.

His followers commented on her appearance and there were racist overtones in many of the messages. He tweeted that “he lives very close to her” and a supporter of the English Defence League identified where it was.

But when she reported the matter to the police they said they could not do anything.

“I made a statement and the police said it was quite difficult to do anything because it's quite difficult to prosecute someone when it comes to online abuse,” she told the BBC.

“They told me the evidence was no longer there, that it was difficult to identify who he was and there was just so much online abuse. The police said they'd be in touch but that was a week ago and I still haven't heard anything.”

Guidelines

Defending their position, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said they have published guidelines on prosecutions involving social media and it set a high threshold for prosecution.

“The huge increase in the reporting of hate material on the internet has presented major new challenges for the police,” Supt Paul Giannasi, a member of Acpo's hate crime group, said.

“We have met with Tell Mama and have discussed their concerns. In response, we have worked with forces to develop an audit process so senior officers can analyze how their forces are responding to these and similar reports. When it is circulated it will allow all areas to monitor their own performance,” he added.

Acpo said reports of online hate messages were sent through to individual forces to investigate.

“Acpo and the College of Policing have also developed new guidance to colleagues about how to respond to these issues,” Giannasi said.

“We have heard the concerns of Tell Mama and we are working with them to address their concerns and improve communications.”

British Muslims, estimated at nearly 2.7 millions, have been in the eye of storm since the 7/7 attacks.

The number of anti-Islamic attacks has increased as much as tenfold in the days that followed the Woolwich murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.

A series of attacks against Muslim targets included three terrorist bombings targeted at different mosques in West Midlands in July.

Tell Mama project, which monitors anti-Muslim attacks in Britain, has also reported 212 “anti-Muslim incidents” after the Woolwich attack, including 11 attacks on mosques.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here

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