Montreal to hold public meetings on racism
The Canadian city of Montreal will solicit public opinion on the extent of racism after 20,000 residents signed a petition calling for consultations, according to reports Friday.
The city confirmed the 15,000-signature threshold had been achieved that, under municipal bylaw, forces the city to act on a petition.
The petition calls for the consultations to look at “the problems and the barriers, like the under-representation of racial and ethnic diversity in employment and in nominations to municipal and (municipality-created) organizations.”
Montreal, in the province of Quebec, is the second largest city in Canada and ranks eighth in North America, with a population around 1.7 million. About a third of city residents were born in other countries.
A Canadian Broadcast Company study in 2016 showed that despite the large number of visible minorities, they only make up 11 percent of the workforce.
Montreal in Action, the group that spurred the petition, and its spokesperson Balarama Holness said gathering the signatures in a 90-day period was comparatively easy.
“The real work begins now,” he said Friday in a press release to Canadian media. “This public consultation’s success and impact depends on the collaboration of organizations, leaders, academics and citizens from across the city.”
Holness said to fully explore the extent of systemic racism and discrimination in Montreal it will be necessary for individuals to come forward during consultations, even if some find it uncomfortable.
“I think this consultation will be a safe place where people can feel secure and come to voice their experiences,” he said. “Even if you haven’t experienced racial profiling, housing discrimination or (aggression) in the workplace, being cognizant of these (situations), we want these people to come to the table and support and supply solutions.”
It was not known when the consultations will begin.
Montreal is a diversified city with more than half the population French-speaking. Canada is an officially bilingual country of French and English but the official language in Quebec is French. Muslims make up about 6 percent, or 154,000 of Montreal’s population, Chinese 92,000 and 36,000 Jewish.
The Quebec government passed a law last year that would force anyone wearing a face covering to remove it while using or giving public services, such as riding a bus.
The law has been in limbo since a judge ordered a stay, ruling it could cause irreparable harm to Muslim women and that the law violates the freedoms guaranteed by Quebec and the Canadian charters of rights.
Facebook, Apple and YouTube remove pages and podcasts from Alex Jones for hate speech, policy violations
Apple confirmed on Monday that it had removed five out of six podcasts, which includes Jones’ infamous “The Alex Jones Show” as well as a number of other InfoWars audio streams. The news was originally reported by BuzzFeed News.
Facebook and Google made similar decisions later on Monday. Facebook removed four pages controlled by him, while Google removed the official “Alex Jones Channel” on its platform. The YouTube channel for InfoWars, the media company owned by Alex Jones, still remains live. Pinterest also removed the InfoWars board.
Jones, a controversial conspiracy theorist who has claimed that the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax, has been hit with other content bans from the likes of Spotify.
Apple’s move seems slightly more dramatic — the company has taken down entire libraries of InfoWars podcasts, rather than a select few episodes.
“Apple does not tolerate hate speech, and we have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.
“Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.”
Later on Monday morning, Facebook announced it was removing four of Jones’ pages for persistently uploading content in breach of the social network’s content guidelines.
The company said it made the decision after receiving additional complaints about inappropriate content on Jones’ pages. The pages were removed “for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies.” The decision was made independently of any other companies removing content from their sites, a Facebook spokesperson said.
In July, Facebook removed four of Jones’ videos and hit his own personal profile with a 30-day ban over what the firm deemed as a violation of its policies on bullying and hate speech. The company said at the time the official InfoWars page, among others where Jones was an administrator, were getting close to the threshold of being banned from the site due to repeated violations.
The company explained on Monday that when it deletes content, the removal counts as a strike — essentially a warning — against the person that uploaded it. In the case of pages, Facebook said it holds both a page and an administrator who posts content in violation of its rules accountable.
But it also said that the reason for removing Jones’ pages was in no way related to concerns over fake news.
“All four pages have been unpublished for repeated violations of Community Standards and accumulating too many strikes,” the company said in a blog post.
“While much of the discussion around Infowars has been related to false news, which is a serious issue that we are working to address by demoting links marked wrong by fact checkers and suggesting additional content, none of the violations that spurred today’s removals were related to this.”
Facebook in particular has faced calls to remove Jones from the platform altogether. Last month, the company was asked by a CNN journalist why it had not banned InfoWars completely, given its aim to crack down on fake news. Facebook — along with CEO Mark Zuckerberg — defended the decision not to remove InfoWars.
Tech giants have faced calls from both sides of the political spectrum to be more transparent about the way they approach content flagging and banning. On the left, there are critics who say these firms are not doing enough to take down harmful and offensive content, while on the right there are some who think internet firms are routinely censoring conservative posts.
‘Hope trumps hate’: Hundreds gather for anti-racism protest
Hundreds of people gathered at Aotea Square in Auckland on Friday night for a ‘Rally Against Racism’ to protest against alt-right speakers Lauren Southern and Stephen Molyneux.
The event was hosted by Tamaki Anti-Fascist Action and 10 other groups, including Auckland Peace Action and People Against Prisons Aotearoa.
Among the speakers was Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson, who said she felt a sense of responsibility to speak out and use her platform to condemn inequality and hate speech in New Zealand.
The controversial duo was meant to speak at The Powerstation, but the event was cancelled only hours beforehand.
In a statement, Powerstation owner Gabrielle Mullins said initially it was not clear by the name of the booking that it was for the pair. After the public outcry, the owners decided they didn’t want them in their venue.
Tamaki Anti-Fascist Action spokesperson Sina Brown-Davis also spoke at the rally, calling Ms Southern and Mr Molyneux “Ken and Barbie fascists”. She ended her speech by saying the cancellation proved that hope trumps hate.
The pair are rumoured to be making a public appearance at Aotea Square on Saturday afternoon.
Alongside this, a counter-protest has been arranged by Love Aotearoa, Hate Racism.
The ugly racism forcing children out of a Plymouth school
The families featured in this article are proud to speak out against racisim. Plymouth Live has taken the decision not to name or picture the children as they settle into their new schools.
The mother of the boy, who started at Lipson Co-Operative Academy in September, said bullies made her son’s life so difficult she has been forced to move him to a different school.
Another concerned mother said she too is transferring her daughter, also in Year 7, from the school after she was a victim of racist bullying.
The school insists that all complaints against bullying and discrimination are immediately acted on and that the protection of students is its top priority.
Harry – not his real name – said he was targeted shortly after he started at the school.
“They’ve called me the N word,” he said.
“They’ve made fun of my hair.
“It made me feel really sad and like I wasn’t wanted at all.”
The youngster, who recently turned 12, added that he was pushed and shoved by other students and was subjected to threats of violence.
“They threatened to beat me up,” he told Plymouth Live. “They were saying that if I told about their smoking and drinking in the woods next to the school then they’d beat me up.”
He and his mother said the incidents, which took place on the football pitch, in the classroom and on the bus, gradually got worse over time.
Harry, who has lived in the South West his whole life, said at first he made new friends and enjoyed school life but after he joined a rugby team with older children, he became a target.
Why Australia does not need a Religious Discrimination Act
Social Services Minister Dan Tehan called in a recent speech for a federal Religious Discrimination Act. While Liberal Senator James Paterson has backed the call, Just Equal spokesman Brian Greig has warned such a law may be a smokescreen to allow discrimination against LGBTI people. Liberal backbench MP Tim Wilson has echoed those concerns.
Tehan’s speech attempts to set the terms of public debate as the federal government considers its response to the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review, to be released in coming months. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appointed former Liberal minister Philip Ruddock in late 2017 to review legal protections for religious freedom in Australia. This was in response to concerns from conservative voices in the government about the impact of marriage equality.
So what is a Religious Discrimination Act? Does Australia need one? What are the risks? And are the politicians really worried about religious discrimination?
What is a Religious Discrimination Act?
A number of federal laws prohibit different types of discrimination: the Racial Discrimination Act, the Sex Discrimination Act (which covers sex, gender identity, marital status, sexuality and family responsibilities), the Age Discrimination Act and the Disability Discrimination Act. The idea is to add a Religious Discrimination Act to this collection of laws.
The basic function of these laws is to prohibit discrimination on the basis of a protected attribute in various contexts such as employment and the provision of goods and services.
A Religious Discrimination Act following the same basic model would prohibit things like refusing to hire a person because she is a Catholic and sacking a person because he is an atheist. It would also prohibit a café refusing to sell coffee to a customer because she is a Muslim and a bakery refusing to make a cake for a customer because he is an Anglican.
Racism, citizenship and schooling: why we still have some way to go
At a Senate Estimates hearing in May, LNP Senator Ian MacDonald said he found it difficult to find any but “very rare” cases of racism in Australia. Though, he did concede perhaps this view had developed “living in a bubble”. Bubbles are dangerous places from which to make public policy.
MacDonald may not have had personal experiences of racism, but 20% of Australians have experienced racism in the past 12 months due to the colour of their skin, ethnic origin or religion.
Racism means people experience citizenship differently. It means opportunities and capacities are not equally available to every citizen and egalitarian justice, the idea of a “fair go” for everyone, doesn’t work as it’s intended.
Racism divides societies and fractures the idea of common nationhood. It helps explain why some people don’t get a fair go at school, for example.
Racism and school policy
Schools operate outside MacDonald’s bubble. But they aren’t ideologically neutral.
Historically, education policy was explicit. Schools were not meant to work for Indigenous people. In the 1890s, inferior curriculums were officially circulated for Indigenous people.
By 1937, the idea of inherent Indigenous intellectual inferiority remained. A parliamentary committee heard and ignored arguments for better schooling:
I say that a full-blood can be educated just as well as a half-caste or non-Aboriginal…I say they must have qualified teachers…At present they are not qualified…
Indigenous people could be excluded from New South Wales public schools until 1972.
Separate schools for Indigenous peoples were established to meet the requirement for education set out by the Aboriginal Protection Acts. But education was usually for domestic service or labouring, and often marked by physical and sexual abuse.
Exclusion is the lived experience of some of the parents of Indigenous people who are in school now. As well as being a denial of equal human worth, the experience of racism at school directly predicts lower test scores.
Racism also occurs at other levels of the education system. For example, in 2017, an Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association member survey found 60% of Indigenous doctors and medical students had experienced racism and/or bullying during training.
Education and culture are universal human rights. But when some people can bring their knowledge, experiences and worldviews to school and others can’t, it produces systemic discrimination. It means different people get different levels of access to education.
Who decides what knowledge counts
Canadian multicultural political theorist Will Kymlicka argues:
the state unavoidably promotes certain cultural identities and thereby disadvantages others. This may be true, but the state can also intentionally promote some cultural identities at the exclusion of others.
In 2008, Julia Gillard insisted bilingual schooling discontinue in the Northern Territory. It was an ideological position that undervalued the relationships between language, cultural identity and intellectual development. Nor did it consider that there are broader and more important contributors to school effectiveness such as teacher quality.
The question of who decides what knowledge counts for Indigenous people is also important. Can Indigenous people really be equal citizens if they can’t contribute to these decisions?
Again in 2008, a Northern Territory government submission to an inquiry into the Northern Territory Intervention made it clear even the citizen’s right to go to school was conditioned by systematic racism.
According to a government submission, policy measures to combat truancy were problematic because if they worked, the system would not be able to cope with the anticipated increase in school attendance. The failure of this policy was expected and accepted for Indigenous citizens.
Where are we now?
In Australia and elsewhere in 2018, policy rhetoric allows Indigenous peoples to pursue higher aspirations. It insists on fundamental human equality and aims to shift MacDonald’s observation from the naive to the prophetic. Eliminating racism from public policy means positive difference is a reasonable expectation of citizenship.
Everybody should enjoy the same political capacities to influence what happens at school, why and for whose benefit. The claim for influence, as a capacity of citizenship, inspires the contemporary call for a guaranteed Indigenous voice to parliament.
But diminishing racism and the policy failure that it causes requires Indigenous voice at all levels of public policy-making and implementation. Culture counts not just in classroom practices, but also in policy evaluation.
There are, for example, important arguments of equal citizenship for Indigenous policy makers to examine the apparent contradiction between low Indigenous achievement in NAPLAN and the only Closing the Gap target on track to be met – halving the gap in year 12 attainment by 2020. Policy failure can be reduced by replicating examples of success.
What does work?
In 2016, a National Health and Medical Research Council forum proposed establishing an Aboriginal community-controlled education sector. This would parallel the 143 existing community-controlled health organisations and contribute to a citizenship of influence.
The Indigenous Stronger Smarter Institute’s educational principlesreflect an expectation that schools must work equally well for everybody; that education should occur on principles of equal citizenship. This includes acknowledging and embracing a positive sense of identity, Indigenous leadership in schools and school communities, and having high expectations for Indigenous staff and students.
The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership provides examples of these principles working in practice to improve Indigenous achievement. But the institute’s listed instances of “what works” are not generally measures that have been trialled, evaluated and replicated across whole school systems.
All New Zealand schools are evaluated explicitly and publicly on Maori achievement and their efforts to improve it. Many have raised Maori achievement with reference to an Effective Teaching Profile developed by the Maori led Te Kotahitanga research and teacher professional development project. Its six presumptions are that:
- teachers care for their students as culturally located human beings above all else
- teachers care for the performance of their students
- teachers are able to create a secure, well-managed learning environment
- teachers are able to engage in effective teaching interactions with Māori students as Māori
- teachers can use strategies that promote effective teaching interactions and relationships with their learners
- teachers promote, monitor and reflect on outcomes that in turn lead to improvements in educational achievement for Māori students.
Te Kotahitanga and its successor professional development programmes are widely implemented and the Coalition Government Agreementbetween the Labour and New Zealand First parties commits to further investment in the project.
The contrast between Australia and New Zealand is ultimately one of expectations about what it means to be an Indigenous citizen entitled to a “fair go” as racism’s opposite.
Source: The conversation
Canadian Christian activist’s legal battle against hate crime charges continues in September
September could be a cruel month for Christian activist Bill Whatcott.
After a brief appearance Monday, Whatcott is scheduled to be back in a Toronto court on September 20 for state evidence against him on the criminal charge he wilfully promoted hatred against an identifiable group — the gay community.
And from September 10 to 13, he will go before the BC Human Rights Commission answering to allegations of discrimination from transgender activist Morgane Oger.
If found guilty of the crime of inciting hatred, Whatcott, 51, could be sentenced to up to two years in jail.
If found guilty by the BCHRC, Whatcott could be fined up to $75,000, and if he does not pay the fine, he could be charged with contempt of court and sent to jail.
On the positive side, public pressure is building on Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government to drop the hate crime charge.
It was authorized under former Liberal attorney general Yasir Naqvi, who was turfed out of office in the June 7 Conservative landslide.
Some 39,660 people have signed a CitizenGo petition asking the charges be dropped. LifeSiteNews has launched a similar petition directed at Tory Attorney General Caroline Mulroney, which can be signed here.
Moreover, American conservative media has decried the hate crime charge, with Ben Shapiro calling it “fascism” while tweeting an article from his Daily Wire, and Texas-based Mass Resistance and the Federalist linking to Whatcott’s impugned 2016 “gay zombie safe-sex” pamphlet his bail order forbids him from publishing.
“More people have read my flyer now than would have read it if the LGBT lobby would have left me alone rather than charging me with a hate crime,” Whatcottobserved on his web portal Free North America.
“God does indeed work all things out for good, for those of us who love Him.”
Whatcott also describes the criminal charge as “politically motivated by homosexual activists” and warns that it bodes ill for free speech in Canada.
“If I get convicted of this, it’s going to be a very low bar of what anyone can say,” he told LifeSiteNews in a previous interview. “Because they’re going to use it, they’re going to use it as a precedent for what the next Christian can say.”
Hate crime charges date to 2016
Toronto police charged Whatcott with the hate crime in May and issued a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest.
The charge resulted from a nearly two-year investigation into complaints against Whatcott after he registered in the 2016 Pride parade under the pseudonym Robert Clinton on behalf of the Gay Zombies Cannabis Consumers Association.
He and five others, dressed as erstwhile “gay zombies” in skin-tight green body suits and face masks, distributed some 3,000 “zombie safe-sex” packages that included a flyer warning of the physical and spiritual dangers of homosexual activity.
The flyer featured a graphic of anal warts, a mottled corpse described as an “AIDS fatality,” and an image of “genital warts in the mouth” next to a headshot of an open-mouthed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
It blasted the alleged “homosexual activism” of Trudeau, as well as the sex-ed curriculum rolled out by former Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and its connection to one-time deputy minister of education Ben Levin, convicted in 2015 of three child pornography charges.
“Canada has embarked on a destructive journey toward sexual anarchy and homosexual inspired oppression,” Whatcott’s pamphlet declared.
Whatcott loses job
Well known for his Gospel-based activism, Whatcott turned himself in on June 22 in Calgary. He then endured a weekend in custody during which he was allegedly not given any food for 24 hours and deprived of medication for several hours for pink eye and a leg inflammation.
Whatcott described on Free North America he was met in Toronto by Sergeant Henry Dyck of 51 Division who “sported homosexual pride shoulder stripes, a homosexual pride emblem on his chest, and a homosexual pride bracelet.”
When released on bail, Whatcott returned to Alberta to discover he’d lost his job as an oilfield bus driver, and GoFundMe had shut down his wife’s fundraising page. The couple have since started a fundraising appeal on GoGetFunding.
Whatcott’s bail order also bans him from contacting Toronto lawyer Douglas Elliot, openly homosexual and former Ontario MP George Smitherman, and gay bar owner Christopher Hudspeth.
The latter two are plaintiffs in a $104 million class action lawsuit that Elliott launched in August 2016 against Whatcott, and anyone who aided and abetted the “gay zombies.”
Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell ruled in March 2017 the plaintiffs could not claim defamation of an entire group, such as the Pride Parade participants or the “LGTBTQ2SI Community,” or a sub-class of Liberals, but only of individuals.
But Perell ordered Whatcott to give the names of his fellow “zombies,” as well of the “unidentified financial backers” who funded the group’s expenses. That order is in abeyance while both parties appeal Perell’s decision.
Smitherman and Elliott have subsequently alleged they have received death threats, Whatcott wrote on Free North America.
BC Human Rights trans activist complaint
As for the BC Human Rights hearing, Oger, who was born Ronan Oger and is vice president of BC’s NDP, claims two pamphlets Whatcott distributed during Oger’s May 2017 provincial election campaign were discriminatory and exposed him to “hatred and contempt” under BC’s Human Rights Code.
BC’s Liberal government amended the code’s Section 7 in July 2016 to include gender identity and expression as a basis for discrimination.
“The truth is there are only two genders, male and female, and they are God given and unchangeable,” wrote Whatcott in his flyer.
People can’t change their biological sex, but can “only cross dress and disfigure themselves with surgery and hormones to look like the gender they are not,” he wrote. “This practice is harmful and displeasing to God.”
The tribunal ruled in June that Whatcott could not access Oger’s medical records or have him undergo DNA testing as evidence he was born male, the Toronto Star reported in June.
Tribunal member Devyn Cousineau argued then that “the ‘truth’ of the statements in (Whatcott’s) flyer is not a defence” and proving Oger was born a male is “not relevant to legal issues.”
Oger protested early in the proceedings that a tribunal’s interim order erred in describing him as “born a male” and requested it refer to him as a “transgender woman.”
Red Rose shooting ‘absolutely’ hate crime, ‘alarming’ that York County back in spotlight
The Red Rose shooting begs a familiar question: Was there a hate crime in York County?
“Absolutely,” two lawyers said.
James Saylor, a 24-year-old letter carrier from Lower Windsor Township, is charged with one count of criminal homicide after police say he shot and killed Chad Merrill, a 25-year-old mason and new dad. The shooting happened early Saturday morning outside the Red Rose Restaurant & Lounge in Hellam Township shortly after Merrill defended a black man against Saylor’s racial slurs, including the n-word, according to police.
There’s no question it was hate, according to some lawyers and social justice advocates following the case, but whether ethnic intimidation should be added to the charges is debatable.
“Absolutely it’s hate, but murder is murder. You can’t go any higher than murder,” said Tom Kelley, a York defense attorney, former prosecutor and former county judge.
Tacking on a hate crime to this most serious charge wouldn’t make sense, he said.
But generally, the hate crime charge “helps immeasurably,” Kelly said.
“You can’t teach people to not hate, but you can punish them for it,” he said.
The details of the Red Rose shooting case show appropriate intent for a first-degree murder charge, Kelly said.
“You can see it’s a first-degree murder charge or you’re nuts,” he said. “You just can’t get any higher than murder in the first degree. It’s tough to defend that charge.”
Sandra Thompson, a lawyer and NAACP chapter president in York, sees it a little differently.
She also said it’s “absolutely” a hate crime because the “whole issue stemmed over hate.”
Merrill was “killed because he was protecting a man being harassed based on race,” Thompson said.
A person who is defending a protected class is also protected, according to Pennsylvania’s hate crime statute.
And she said a hate crime charge needs to be added on to discourage hate and encourage people to speak up when they see wrongdoing.
Thompson spoke up on April 21 after she and four other black women were asked to leave Grandview Golf Club for alleged slow play. Former county commissioner Steve Chronister, working in an advisory role at the course, called 911 twice that day and said the only weapon there was her mouth. That case is being analyzed by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Council to determine whether the women face gender and race discrimination that day.
Hate crime reports more than double across West Mercia
There were 1,321 offences across the West Mercia region in 2016/17, compared with only 654 in 2014/15.
The 102 per cent increase is nearly double the national figure of 57 per cent.
Today West Mercia’s police and crime commissioner vowed that victims would be listened to and supported.
John Campion said victims would get the help they needed. Hate crime is defined as a crime motivated by racial, sexual, or other prejudice, typically one involving violence or intimidation.
“Ultimately, I want our communities to be safer, happier and more united,” Mr Campion said. “We can all help to achieve that.
“I have invested in a number of projects, providing a joined up approach to addressing hate crime, and I am reassured by the work of West Mercia Police who are raising awareness and engaging with communities.
“I made a commitment to victims that they would get an efficient and effective service from the police, and the support to help them cope and recover.
“Great progress has been made around this, and whilst we are not complacent and there is more to build on, I am reassured that the police are working diligently to prevent and to tackle unacceptable behaviour, and injustices in society.”
Chief Superintendent Kevin Purcell, who leads West Mercia Police’s response to hate crime, said: “No-one should be targeted for being themselves and we can never underestimate the devastating effect being a victim of a hate crime can have on people.
“Over the past few years we have worked very hard to raise awareness of what hate crime is and encourage people to come forward and report this to police, working with our partners to make sure support is available.
“We recognise how it important it is in getting our response to hate crime right and are currently carrying out a lot of work to improve this and our contact with victims. We have already made great strides in this but are not complacent and know there is always room for improvement.
“We work very closely with our independent advisory groups made up of representatives from our local communities to ensure our response is appropriate and is considerate to the needs of victims. There is no place for hate crime in our communities and I really would urge anyone who feels they have been targeted because of who they are to come forward and report this to police.”
Anti-Muslim hate crime in the UK is at an all-time high, study shows
The last few years have seen hate crimes figures in the UK steadily rise to extremely concerning numbers, indicating that widespread intolerance is on the rise.
A harrowing new report, released by Tell MAMA, an organisation whose aim is to aid victims of anti-Muslim violence, confirmed this increase hugely affects the UK’s Muslim community; in 2017, a total of 1,330 incidents were reported, of which 1,201 were confirmed to have been motivated by Islamophobia.
These are the highest numbers recorded since the organisation began collating statistics in 2012, and they mark a 16.3 percent increase on the amount of crimes recorded in 2016.
The report details various different categories of hate crime, but offline or ‘street-level’ incidents are still the most common – more than two thirds of cases involved physical altercations on the streets, or the vandalism of Muslim institutions of Muslim-owned properties. This marks a 30 percent increase on 2016 figures.
The number of online attacks has also risen by 16 percent, an increase which the report says 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”.
Anti-Muslim accounts became a topic of nationwide discussion this year when Donald Trump retweeted a series of posts made by “far-right extremist group” Britain First. Other renowned hate-mongers, including ex-English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson, were also permanently banned from the social media site as part of a crackdown on hate speech.
The report also points to a rise in discriminatory ‘Twitter bots’, one of which was linked to a Russian ‘troll army’ and helped launch a xenophobic media campaign fuelled by an image of a hijabi woman checking her phone in the aftermath of the Westminster attack.
She quickly became a target for wider Islamophobia, and was later forced to defend herself. Upon discovering that her image had been circulated as part of an anti-Muslim hate campaign, she reported the incident to Tell Mama, who wrote:
[The use of this image] has undermined the confidence of an innocent young woman who was also caught up in the melee after the attacks.
Examples like these highlight societal willingness to scapegoat innocent Muslims in a wider attempt to buoy Islamophobia.