All of us, as individuals, can take action to reduce hatred and build cross-community connections. There are also actions groups can take.
Posted 14 November 2016. Speech delivered 2 April 2016.
On Saturday 2 April 2016 I spoke before a primarily Muslim audience in Bradford on the subject of reducing hate.
In my view it is too easy for people to focus primarily on hatred directed at the particular group that they happen to belong to. Accordingly, I decided to broaden the perspective. In particular while there are significant levels of anti-Muslim hatred in the UK, Muslims are not the community that experience the highest levels of hatred.
This page is based upon the talk I gave, with the adaptations a change from oral to written delivery requires.
The organisation “Tell MAMA” is named after its function, “Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks.” It is modelled on a Jewish organisation, “The Community Security Trust” (the CST).
For over 15 years the CST has provided a mechanism to help people to report antisemitism, the same function which Tell MAMA performs. The page Leadership of Tell MAMA shows that its Chairman is Shahid Malik the former Labour MP and government minister, while its President is Richard Benson, who used to be Chief Executive of the CST.
From the very beginning of Tell MAMA, the CST has been extremely helpful sharing its experience and advice with it.
Looking at the antisemitism and anti-Muslim statistics is quite illuminating.
The CST works by calendar years while Tell MAMA works by the 12 months to the end of February. For broad comparability, it is worth comparing Tell MAMA’s figures for the 12 months to the end of February 2015 with the CST’s figures for the 12 months to the end of December 2014, since those periods largely overlap, with 10 months in common.
In its 12 months, the CST reported 1,168 antisemitic incidents, of which 81 were violent assaults, including 1 with extreme violence (grievous bodily harm or threat to life).
In its 12 months, Tell MAMA reported 548 incidents, of which 21 were assaults, and 7 involved extreme violence.
It helps to put these numbers into context. For every Jew in Britain, there are about 10 Muslims. The England & Wales, 2011 census recorded 263,000 Jews and 2.7 million Muslims.
Why did Tell MAMA not record about 11,000 incidents? That is what one would expect if the rate of incidents was the same pro-rata for Jews and Muslims.
The precise calculation is 1,168 x 2,700,000 / 263,000 = 11,991.
Part of the discrepancy will be under-reporting of anti-Muslim attacks. The CST has been going longer and is better organised, so I would expect Jews to be more thorough at reporting antisemitic incidents than are Muslims. However, that cannot be everything.
The reality is that Jews suffer even more hatred than Muslims, much more.
There are two categories of actions:
As a first step, you should get involved with organisations that counter hatred and bring people together. There is a very long list of such organisation. Many are included in the list “Some organisations I am involved with” on my “About me” page.
Just as important, you should get involved with ordinary organisations. Everywhere you go, you are an ambassador for Islam. People will judge Islam by the Muslims they meet. If they don’t meet any Muslims, they will go by the worst media reporting.
For example, When I write things about taxation or investment, I am not doing that to reduce anti-Muslim hatred. However, reducing anti-Muslim hatred is one of the by-products I achieve, because I am showing that Muslims are normal people who have something to say about tax and investments. This is explained in more detail in my piece “Show Muslims are normal citizens.”
Ask yourself how many non-Muslim friends you have, people whose houses you go to occasionally, who you sometimes have around for a meal.
As a parent, make sure you bring up your children to think of everyone in society as a fellow citizen, part of the “us” that makes us one country.
If you are teaching your children to hate any group, you are failing in your duty as a citizen.
Get your group connected with non-Muslim groups.
If you run a sports team, get it playing with non-Muslim teams.
If you run a mosque, twin it with a church, and visit that church as an organised group and invite them back.
The one thing that does not help is sitting back and saying "everything is awful and they are all against us.”