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Woolwich Severe Backlash Hits UK Muslims

Published: 02/06/2013 12:18:25 PM GMT
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CAIRO - Becoming unfortunate scapegoats for anti-Muslim backlash, innocent British Muslims have been facing an increasingly wave of hate attacks in the wake of a machete killing in London.There has been “a wave of attacks, (more)

CAIRO - Becoming unfortunate scapegoats for anti-Muslim backlash, innocent British Muslims have been facing an increasingly wave of hate attacks in the wake of a machete killing in London.

There has been “a wave of attacks, harassment, and hate-filled speech against Muslims … an unprecedented number of incidents,” Fiyaz Mughal, who runs a project called Tell Mama, told The Sunday Telegraph on June 2.

The attacks include “a rise in street harassment of Muslims - unprovoked, opportunistic attacks from strangers as Muslims go about their lives,” he added.

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Muslims have been facing rising tension in the wake of last month's machete killing of an army soldier by two converts of immigrant origin.

Despite Muslim condemnations for the attack as against the teachings of Islam, the media, especially the BBC, have accepted anti-Muslim claims without question.

A presenter on Radio 4's influential Today program stated that attacks on Muslims were now “on a very serious scale”.

Ever since, Tell Mama (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks), which receives £214,000 a year from the Government to monitor anti-Muslim attacks in Britain, have received 212 “anti-Muslim incidents”.“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.”

The reported anti-Muslim attacks included about 120 as taking place online; such as offensive postings on Twitter or Facebook, or comments on blogs.

Other 17 cases (8 per cent) of attack involved individuals being physically targeted and six people had things thrown at them, Mughal said.

Most of the other 11 cases were attempts to pull off the hijab or other items of Islamic dress.

The most serious manifestation of anti-Muslim sentiments were 11 attacks reported on mosques, which reflected a new trend of Islamophobic attacks in Britain.

Cycle Of Violence

Dealing with increasing anti-Muslim sentiments, Mughal blamed the British government's prevent policy for spreading a sense of lack of confidence in the Muslim community.

“The [Government's] Prevent [anti-extremism] agenda, the extremist agenda, have not been good for building confidence - the sense of fear just alienates and isolates communities,” he said.

Tell Mama official was referring to controversial "Prevent" strategy introduced in the wake of the 2005 attacks to prevent Muslims from being lured into extremist ideologies.

However, the “Prevent” strategy was widely criticized as focusing predominantly on British Muslims.

“I do not see an end to this cycle of violence,” Mughal said.

“There is an underlying Islamophobia in our society and the horrendous events in Woolwich have brought this to the fore.”

Hostility against British Muslims, estimated at nearly 2.5 million, have been on the rise since 2005's 7/7 attacks.

Police data shows that 1,200 anti-Muslim attacks were reported in Britain in 2010.

An earlier report by think-tank Chatham House identified a considerable Islamophobic sentiment in Britain, detecting a "wide reservoir of public sympathy for claims that Islam and the growth of settled, Muslim communities pose a fundamental threat to the native group and nation."

A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.

A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.

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