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Documentary investigates rise in hate crime following Manchester terror attack – Muslims are ‘enemy combatants’

Documentary investigates rise in hate crime following Manchester terror attack – Muslims are ‘enemy combatants’

Categories: Latest News

Thursday May 24 2018


On Monday, 21 May 2018, Channel 4 aired a poignant documentary titled ‘Manchester: A Year of Hate Crime’ that investigated the impact of the Manchester Arena bombing on community cohesion and the rates of hate crime, hate speech and Islamophobia in Greater Manchester.

Filmed over a period of 6 months, the documentary shadowed police officers and filmed victims of hate crime as they witnessed and, at times first-hand, experienced the substantial rise in hate crime targeting against Muslims, and those perceived to be Muslim, following the terror attack, 22 May 2017, which killed 22 and injured more than 250 people.

The documentary noted how soon after the terror attacks, a rise in hate crime was starting to become evident, with some mosques being firebombed merely a few hours after the attack. In one case, a man attempted to set fire to a mosque in Oldham, Greater Manchester, less than five hours after the incident.

In another case, a Muslim woman and her daughter were attacked on the bus and told to ‘go back where you came from’.

Whilst the police, the British Muslim community, and the city officials attempted to quell the situation and address the rising incidences of hatred, others aimed to inflame the situation and exploit it to serve their agenda.

The day after the arena bombing, Stephen Lennon, commonly known by his pseudonym ‘Tommy Robinson’, released a video calling residents within council building “enemy combatants”, stating that: “In these houses are enemy combatants who want to kill you, maim you and destroy you”. Under the guise of ‘uniting against hate’, Lennon hosted another event, 11 June 2017, which again sought to blame the British Muslim communities for the attack and attempted to invoke his followers to “fight back”.

Harmful rhetoric, such as that utilised by Lennon, serves to further breakdown community cohesion and ignite additional violence.

The documentary noted that an increasingly disturbing trend is of young children becoming heavily indoctrinated by such rhetoric and carrying out appalling acts of violence against other children from minority backgrounds.

In one case, Manchester police arrested a 12-year-old in suspicion of attacking, as part of a group, a 13-year-old child resulting in the victim being hospitalised. The 12-year-old showed little repentance or concern, laughing as he refused to answer the police questions; simply replying “no comment” whilst giggling.

North Manchester police launched a formal operation to tackle the serious incidents of racially-charged attacks against children as reports continued to rise.

Various other incidents are also highlighted illustrating the experience of victims of racial and Islamophobic attacks as the community recoils from the impact of the Manchester terror attack.

The Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, stated that hate crimes were completely “inexcusable” and were “against the values of our country”, adding that “those on the far-right…are doing what terrorists want them to do…create this clash of people and culture”.

The documentary, with its raw and powerful testimonies, provides further proof that Islamophobic hate crimes and racist attacks are still an everyday problem for minority communities, and unequivocal that Britain is not yet a ‘post-racial state’. Indeed, Greater Manchester police force recorded more than 4,000 racially-charged incidents and nearly 800 religiously-charged incidents in 2016/17; with Islamophobic hate crimes rising by nearly 500% immediately following the Manchester bombings.

The programme also highlights, however, the important work community leaders are doing in fostering community cohesion and of the significant support hate crime victims have received following attacks.

It is imperative that the community stands together when incidents occur and rhetoric is utilised that attempts to create division, animosity, and violence between different groups.

It is important that anyone who believes they are in immediate danger from a prejudice-based hate crime should contact the police as soon as possible on 999. If not in immediate danger, or if you have suffered a prejudice-based hate crime in the past, then you can report it using the non-emergency number 101.

You can also, in addition to the police, report any Islamophobic hate crime to MEND’s Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU) here. This allows us to monitor levels of abuse and compile accurate data on the levels of Islamophobia.

The IRU can also help you contact and deal with the police (if you choose to do so), and signpost you towards free legal advice and emotional support that may be available.









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