Equality Column: Nobody is born to hate, they are taught, and we must unteach them

The Britain First Party stage a march through the streets of Rotherham. Police escort and guide the march
The Britain First Party stage a march through the streets of Rotherham. Police escort and guide the march

Hate crime is on the increase, particularly where it is recorded properly and authorities have the confidence of people. One form of hate is Islamophobia, and this is hardly being mentioned in the mainstream media, or many of the hate crime strategies I have reviewed thus far.

Some of the national evidence is compelling, following the Manchester terrorist attack, according to figures supplied by Tell Mama UK, there was a five-fold increase in Islamophobic attacks – 25 the day before / 136 following the incident; The Met police data showed a significant increase in Islamophobic incidents in 2013 these were under 400, and in 2017 these are 1260.

I’m proud to say that the charity I represent is the official social justice partner - I would encourage these authorities to go and watch it and then redraft their strategies once they’ve seen it.

MEND reports there were 143,920 anti-Muslim or Anti-Islamic tweets between March 2016 and March 2017 – an average of 393 tweet incidents a day.

There has been 167 attacks on Muslim places of worship between 2013-1017, with the most recent being a Islamic Centre being burnt down at the beginning of this week in Manchester.

Additionally, Childline reports a 69 percent increase in playground racism with terms like “bomber” and “terrorist” being used too frequently – Muslims facing the brunt of such abuse.

Therefore, why isn’t the evidence featuring in hate crime or anti-islamophobia/racism strategies.

Let’s not forget two people have been murdered, one in Rotherham and the other in Birmingham.

Today a man will be attending court accused of the murder of another Muslim in Finsbury.

On the flip side, even if Islamophobia and all other forms of hate crime were accurately mentioned and we had really good strategies in place, detection rates were great, reporting was confident, and recording robust, would that resolve this growing cancer of intolerance and hate?

The answer to this is a NO. The reason why these strategies’ are destined to fail is because people writing these strategies, are afraid of challenge, institutionalised, not learnt from the past, and therefore are fated to commit the same mistakes. Couple this with, not understanding the true physical impact of racism, Islamophobia, gender discrimination etc, nor does there seem to be a understanding from a mental health or economy perspective either.

If these authorities really want to do something about hate, then they must change their focus, and start thinking about the causes and consequences of hate, rather than punitive measures and processes – important though they are.

Nobody is born to hate, they are taught, and therefore can be untaught too. Next month a film will be released in cinemas called Freesia, it’s probably the only film I know that focuses on Islamophobia, causes and consequences.

I’m proud to say that the charity I represent is the official social justice partner – I would encourage these authorities to go and watch it and then redraft their strategies once they’ve seen it.

For me, the things we really need to talk about if we want to tackle hate is how British identity is formed, particularly in a multi-cultural society that is forecasted to grow.

For me it is a culmination of sources, ranging from birth, where one lives, education, upbringing and opportunity and breaking away from poverty etc.

Similarly, we must listen to people that today are suffering from their own cultural anxieties believing that their own place and identity is under threat – and in that context we have to speak about demographic change, migration, integration, poverty and identity in real terms.

In other words we have to start opening up, and talking without fear of being labelled a racist, fascist or an ignorant.

Because the facts are that more people in this country, mainly in the South are living in mixed race/cultural relationships, demographic growth and change is real, and the way places looked like in the 60’s 70’ and 80’s are changing too – look out at the Skyline. Mahatma Gandhi once said “if you want to see good