The focus of last night’s Dispatches, presented by Seyi Rhodes, was the sharp recent rise in reported instances of racism, particularly post Brexit.
Arfah Farooq (3:00), a Londoner who was subjected to racist abuse on the underground, said she felt Brexit had given confidence to closet racists who now thought half the country agreed with them.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council reported a 400% rise in hate crime in the week following the referendum. Rhodes interviewed a researcher from Demos who presented data confirming that there had been a pronounced post-Brexit spike in anti-Muslim incidents online. (Similar spikes had been identified after the Brussels attacks and other trigger events).
Tell MAMA monitors anti-Muslim abuse but is itself often a victim. One recent message to the group read:
I think that Islam should be reclassified as a crime. Punishable by death. That would rid this country of parasitic scum. We need a big clear out every now and then. The government needs to build a gas chamber to put them all in.
In an informative section (14:00) former chief prosector for the CPS Nazir Afzal explained the (high) threshold such abuse has to reach to count as incitement to religious hatred.
stfu dumb chink go fry some rice sand nigger I HATE MUZZIES
was deemed ‘absolutely horrible but not criminal’.
HOPE YOU GET SMASHED IN THOSE FENCES WHILE YOU’RE FAMILY IS BEING BOMBARDED BY DRONES PAKI NONCE
invoked violence but didn’t threaten or directly encourage violence so would not meet the threshold.
Although an interesting short documentary, uncovering some truly nasty instances of violence and hatred, the programme’s advertised focus on the post-Brexit climate was slightly misleading. This very much a programme about anti-Muslim bigotry and it would have been useful to learn more about other groups’ experiences of xenophobia in the wake of the referendum.