On Tuesday, 13th October, during National Hate Crime Awareness Week, CARG in partnership with Tell Mama, held a webinar on Standing in Solidarity: How can the British East and South East Asian community learn from and support other communities that have also experienced hate crime?
The webinar was attended by over 90 participants. The format consisted of Iman Atta the Director of Tell Mama answering 4 questions, followed by an hour long open discussion. The section below highlights the questions and a summary of Iman’s responses. Please note that the summary may not fully reflect what Iman said.
1. Protection and the Police
How do you advise your community to stay safe, both in the streets & online? How do you overcome their reluctance or mistrust to report hate crimes to the police?
Tell Mama promotes awareness of hate crime and provides options for victims to report to Tell Mama in confidence and then, if they want to, support the victims on a journey to report to the police. Hate crime is generally underreported because of lack of trust with the police. Trust can be built by sharing successful stories of arrest and prosecution but trust takes time to build. It is important to maintain engagement with the authorities and, at the same time, hold them accountable.
When encountering abuse online, we can engaged with, mute or block the perpetrator. We can also report to social media companies and get help from organisations like Tell Mama to engage the social media companies. With street abuse, do not engage in dialogue as can escalate to violence. Record all information and report. Reporting is important as the information may be relevant to other cases, as hate crime perpetrators often offend on numerous occasions.
2. Misrepresentation in Public Life
Public opinion is often influenced or shaped by the media, arts & politics. How do you challenge misrepresentation, fake news and under-representation of 'normal life' in your community?
Share positive stories about what the community is doing such as partnership and charity work; not just negative stories of victims. Challenging misinformation is important. Fake news and hate information from extremist groups must be debunked. The media should also be held accountable when they get the facts wrong by reporting to their internal authorities and external regulators.
Monitoring disinformation and hate, day in and day out, is not an easy job. The more ethnic community groups can voice and challenge fake news together, the stronger we are.
3. Regulation and Government Policy
How did Tell MAMA become a ‘Trusted Flagger’ of Islamophobic content online? How did you grow to influence government policy on Islamophobia, equivalent to the current Sinophobia?
When Tell Mama first started it was undermined by far right groups saying that there was no such thing as anti-Muslim hatred and Tell Mama data was wrong. Hence, Tell Mama had to make sure that their reports, data, cases and methodologies are robust, including involving academia to peer review. Tell Mama engaged actively with policy makers, government officials and parliamentarians, whist holding them accountable. Working with police forces, Crown Prosecution Service, local authorities and other institutions, whilst holding them accountable, is also important.
Tell Mama became a trusted flagger through engaging with social media companies by reporting and working with them to understand anti- Muslim hate issues and the local context in the UK. In time, Tell Mama became a trusted flagger but continued to be critical and holding them to account.
4. Bridge building and Collaboration
How do you encourage your community to build partnerships with other groups? How could our communities work together to challenge both Islamophobia & Sinophobia?
Building partnership with other communities is not easy, as there can be objections from members of our own community. We all carry inter-sectional identities. Our work should share common values such as equality, pluralism, human rights and justice for all. When we see other communities being attacked we should call it out and stand in solidarity with them.
There is more division and divisive discourse in the world today. It is up to us as individuals and organisations to work together to address the hate and intolerance that is growing. Hate groups does not just attack one minority group. Alliances are important, as an attack on one community is an attack on all our communities.
The video of the webinar has been edited to focus on Iman's answers and responses.