Tell MAMA Annual Report 2017: ‘Beyond the Incident’
Beyond the Incident: Highest Number of Annual Reports Logged by Tell MAMA Since Launch in 2012
Director of Tell MAMA, Iman Atta OBE says, “We are in deeply worrying times where people are looking for certainty and what they are getting is instability at a political and societal level. This means that at times like this, minority groups are the ones who suffer the anger of those looking to vent their fears, insecurities and concerns.
“We are seeing more aggressive street-based incidents, younger perpetrators, between the ages of 13-18, increased vandalism and international interference by well organised social media accounts playing groups off in the UK. More than ever, we need to come together and redouble our efforts against those who seek to divide and play communities off against each other”.
In 2017 Tell MAMA recorded a total of 1,330 reports. Of these reports, 1,201 were verified as being anti-Muslim or Islamophobic in nature and as having occurred in the UK between January and December 2017. More than two-thirds of verified incidents occurred offline, or on a street-level (70%, n=839), which represents a 30% rise in offline reports when compared to the previous reporting period (n=643). An offline, or street-level, incident means that the incident occurred in-person between a victim (or property) and a perpetrator. There were therefore more street incidents of anti-Muslim hatred reported into Tell MAMA.
Crimes or incidents that are classified as ‘online’ occurred on social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, or on other Internet-based platforms, were verified as having happened within the UK, and account for a third of reports in 2017 (n=362), which represents a 16.3% rise in reports when compared with the previous year (n=311). This small rise can be partially attributed to the way in which ideologically-motivated accounts felt emboldened by major trigger events, (such as terrorist attacks) and broader Islamophobic discourses in the public sphere.
The ‘online hate’ figure, however, should be viewed as part of a wider trend in our data sets where there has been a marked shift towards more serious offline incidents such as physical attacks, threatening behaviour and abuse more generally, along with a growing awareness of Tell MAMA in Muslim communities, among key stakeholders, and partners, resulting in a greater willingness amongst victims and witnesses to report.
Tell MAMA has listed in its Annual Report examples of ‘Twitter bots’ that have sought to cause disruption and division in community perceptions and which have actively promoted anti-Muslim hatred. One such Twitter account was @DavidJo52951945 . Responses to the rhetoric on this account, called for violent action against Islamic institutions and on August 30th 2017, the Times reported that this bot originated from Russia. Furthermore, a Twitter account called @SouthLoneStar, which had amassed some 16,500 followers, was responsible in starting a global trend after the Westminster terrorist attack.