After two Muslims stabbed an off-duty soldier to death and attempted to behead him, in broad daylight on a busy London street, it was widely reported that a dangerous, anti-Muslim backlash was in progress. British authorities arrested several individuals for making anti-Muslim comments on Facebook or Twitter, hoping, apparently, to stem the tide of anti-Muslim violence.
But did the widely-anticipated, and even widely-reported, epidemic of anti-Muslim violence materialize? No, it didn’t. Andrew Gilligan explains in The Telegraph:
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”. …
“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.”
Enough fear to cause radical imams to back off on preaching the desirability of mass murder of infidels? Well, no, not that much.
The media, especially the BBC, have accepted the claims without question. A presenter on Radio 4’s influential Today programme stated that attacks on Muslims were now “on a very serious scale”.
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.
Of course, there are incidents and there are incidents. One kind of incident is having your head chopped off in the street. Another kind is having someone say on Facebook that he disapproves of religious views that promote chopping peoples’ heads off in the street. It turns out that the anti-Muslim “backlash” consists almost entirely of the latter kind.
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. …
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.
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.
It turns out that not a single Muslim in Great Britain suffered any physical injury requiring medical treatment in the course of the awful “backlash” over Woolrich. This is not really a surprise, of course: there is no religion other than Islam in which the pros and cons of mass murder are a matter of theological debate, and even atheists rarely attack strangers in the street. But, as always, it is far easier to denounce “Islamophobia” and to harass those who speak their minds on Twitter than to deal with the reality of Great Britain’s decline.