Andrew Gilligan reported in the Telegraph last June 9 that Tell Mama, a group which, like Faith Matters, is also headed by Fiyaz Mughal, was not going to "have its government grant renewed after police and civil servants raised concerns about its methods." What was wrong with its methods? It had "claimed that there had been a 'sustained wave of attacks and intimidation' against British Muslims after the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby." But Tell Mama and Fiyaz Mughal "did not mention, however, that 57 per cent of the 212 reports referred to activity that took place only online, mainly offensive postings on Twitter and Facebook, or that a further 16 per cent of the 212 reports had not been verified. Not all the online abuse even originated in Britain. Contrary to the group’s claim of a 'cycle of violence' and a 'sustained wave of attacks', only 17 of the 212 incidents, 8 per cent, involved the physical targeting of people and there were no attacks on anyone serious enough to require medical treatment."'
No attack on any innocent person is justified. Fiyaz Mughal is clearly not interested in defending innocent people, but in inflating the numbers of attacks on innocent Muslims, so as to create and perpetuate the false and tendentious claim that resisting jihad terror and Islamic supremacism somehow endangers innocent people. Tell Mama and Faith Matters showed this clearly when they demanded that the UK Home Office ban Pamela Geller and me from entering the country; the Home Office should have recognized the dishonesty at the heart of their effort in light of their manipulation of the "Islamophobia" figures.
And now, even though Fiyaz Mughal has been thoroughly discredited, the tools at the Voice of America are repeating his distortions and calls for restrictions on the freedom of speech -- for by "hate speech," Mughal means any honest discussion of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and supremacism.
"Anti-Muslim Attacks Nearly Double in Britain," by Al Pessin for the VOA, January 17:
LONDON — British police say anti-Muslim attacks nearly doubled in England last year, prompting concern among community leaders and calls for changes in government policies. Officials and Muslim community leaders attribute the increase largely to the May 2013 murder of a British solider in London by two Muslim men who claimed they did it for Islam. The incident was recorded by a security camera.
But anti-Muslim feeling in Britain goes beyond that, according to Fiyaz Mughal, director of Faith Matters, a community organization.
“There is what we call a ‘background noise’ of anti-Muslim hate that has quite significant volume," Mughal said. "That volume is both online as well as off-line. There are troubling indicators that anti-Muslim hate is unfortunately on the social horizon and probably here to stay for some time.”
Experts say most of the anti-Muslim attacks come in the form of insults and graffiti. Some mosques have also been vandalized, including one in north London, where the head of a pig was thrown over the fence.
As worshippers arrived for midday prayers on a recent Friday, newspapers were reporting a sharp increase in the Muslim population in Britain, leaving community leaders inside, like Omar el-Hamdoun, president of the Muslim Association of Britain, to ponder the impact.
“An increase in the number of Muslims means that, as Muslims, we need to tackle anti-Muslim hatred or Islamophobia, so that Muslims are feeling more and more part of society,” el-Hamdoun said.
He acknowledges that can be difficult at times.
“As Muslims, we have our own practices, we have our own needs, we have our own reasoning," he said. "So I think all of these things are actually difficult for us to fully integrate into society.”
Britain’s 1.6 million Muslims make up 3 percent of the population and are part of the fabric of everyday life. But Muslim community leaders say a small number of militants, along with tensions in the Middle East and anti-immigrant sentiment in Britain, accentuate divisions in society here and across the continent.
“Europe, unfortunately, has a strain of hate that seems to run through it," Mughal said. "Something about Europe seems to carry this rejection of the ‘other.’”
Mughal calls for Britain’s single, year-old rules on hate speech to be tightened, for police to be more responsive to anti-Muslim incidents, and for judges to hand out tougher sentences to people convicted of hate crimes.
He and other experts say there is also a lot for community organizations to do to educate Muslims and the broader society, about what Islam is and how it can fit into a European context very different from its traditional homelands.