Man arrested after disturbing racist video goes viral
Categories: Latest News
Monday February 04 2019
Last week a disturbing video went viral featuring a man hurling racist abuse at school girls in Bow, East London.
In the video, a man on a bus makes comments about a group of visibly Muslim young girls making their way out of school. The man then proceeds to get off and follows them, all the while making derogatory racist and sexist remarks that sound disconcertingly like Nazi-rhetoric.
The police were made aware of the video on the 25th of January and have arrested a man in his sixties on suspicion of a racially-aggravated public order offence. The suspect is currently being held in custody as investigations are ongoing.
In the 2-minute clip, the suspect can be heard making references to Dr Mengele, an SS officer and physician, infamous for his role in the Nazi regime for conducting inhumane experiments on prisoners at Auschwitz concentration camp. Abhorrent language litters the video, including reference to the girls as “black c***s” who are going to “breed like f***ing rats” and calling for their sterilisation. He continued “This was England,” and “We’re going to be f***ed with this lot. I think what we might have to do is think of something like old doctor Mengele […] so the c**ts can’t f***ing multiply”. The schoolgirls did not appear to be aware that the filming was taking place and to date no further allegations have been made to the police.
A record number of 8,336 religiously motivated hate crime incidents were reported in 2018, however, under-reporting means the actual numbers could be significantly higher. The Home Office estimates that there were actually 39,000 religiously motivated hate crimes last year, with Islamophobia being a motivating factor in 52% of them. MEND’s IRU data indicates that Islamophobic hate crime incidences are more likely to occur against visibly Muslim women and to be committed by white men.
The hijab is often used to propagate Islamophobia and exploited by headlines to depict gender oppression, the intolerance of Islam as a patriarchal outdated religion, whilst the niqab is frequently linked to extremism, terrorism or as a threat to so-called British values and society. Muslim women are regularly considered submissive, weak and oppressed and the visibility of the hijab has become politicised and symbolic of their “otherness.” Subsequently, Muslim women are thought of as easy targets who “stand out from accepted norms..fail to conform to society’s expectations of sexual behaviour and gender performance.” (Zempi, 2014).
Moreover, politicians such as Paul Nuttal and Boris Johnson have capitalised on Islamophobic stereotypes to legitimise and reaffirm the dichotomy between “us” and “them”. Former prime minister David Cameron previously spoke about Muslim women as homemakers and their lack of English language skills as the precursor to extremism. Andy Burham criticised this, stating “His clumsy and simplistic approach to challenging extremism is unfairly stigmatising a whole community. There is a real danger that it could end up driving further radicalisation, rather than tackling it.” By focusing on the Muslim community in particular (as opposed to all non-English speaking communities) one could suggest that rhetoric itself seeks to further marginalise Muslims.
Nonetheless, local authority figures have condemned the incident with the mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, and local councillor Asma Begum releasing a joint statement: “We welcome the arrest of a suspect following the police investigation into the appalling video showing young girls outside Central Foundation School.
“Anyone who has seen the video will know that it is extremely racist and that goes without saying, it should not be shared.
“Tower Hamlets is no place for hate and condemn those who try and divide us on any grounds.”
The school were offered support including in the form of a silent protest held outside the school gates. Teachers and staff braved the cold weather in a demonstration of unity and solidarity. The simple but powerful message declared “our schools are no place for hate” and was positively received by the community.
It is expected that further actions or demonstrations will take place to ensure a clear message is sent to bigots, racists and xenophobes that their views are not welcome in this city.
It is important that anyone who believes they are in immediate danger from a prejudice-based hate crime should contact the police as soon as possible on 999. If not in immediate danger, or if you have suffered a prejudice-based hate crime in the past, then you can report it using the non-emergency number 101.
You can also – in addition to the police – report any Islamophobic hate crime to MEND’s Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU) here. This allows us to monitor levels of abuse and compile accurate data on the levels of Islamophobia.
The IRU can also help you contact and deal with the police (if you choose to do so), and signpost you towards free legal advice and emotional support that may be available.