Column: Nobody is born to hate - they are taught
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 media, or many of the hate crime strategies I have reviewed. 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. Police data shows a significant increase in Islamophobic incidents, in 2013 these were under 400, and in 2017 1,260. MEND reports there were 143,920 anti-Muslim or Anti-Islamic tweets between March 2016 and March 2017 – an average of 393 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 in Manchester. Childline reports a 69 percent increase in playground racism with terms like “bomber” and “terrorist” being used too frequently – Muslim children facing the brunt of such abuse. 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. 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 is NO! The reason why these strategies are destined to fail is because people writing them are afraid of challenge, institutionalised, haven’t learnt from the past, and are fated to commit the same mistakes. Couple this with, not understanding the true physical impact of racism, Islamophobia, or gender discrimination, 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.