Tell Mama Lies: How to Lie About Islamophobia

by Paul Austin Murphy (December 2016)

Although the image/representation above is from the largest “anti-Islamophobia” organisation in the United Kingdom, American readers will be well aware that similar organisations and individuals exist in the United States (e.g., CAIR, Nathan Lean, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Georgetown University, Loonwatch and many more). And, like Tell Mama, they too indulge in obfuscation, dissemblance and ambiguity. Indeed many happily lie for the cause of Islam.

The British organisation is called Tell Mama. This is how it sells itself:

“Tell MAMA supports victims of anti-Muslim hate and is a public service which also measures and monitors anti-Muslim incidents…”


The image above, quite simply, is an outrageous use of numbers and charts. I know that left-wing political academics love their charts, percentage and stats and do this kind of thing all the time (i.e., in order to sell a political cause); but the details in the Tell Mama image are pathetic. (The image above is taken from the Tell Mama website. It can be found here.)

Ask yourself, for instance, this question: Why does Tell Mama, or Fiyaz Mughal (its Founder and Director), go back to 2013, rather than, say, 2012 or 2014? Do you think that this has something to do with the fact that in 2013 there were 43 “mosque attacks”; whereas in 2014 there was only 21? Thus there were more than twice as many attacks in 2013 than in 2014. That means that, over all, the 2013 figure would distinctly increase the numbers of overall attacks (from 2013 to 2016) to 100. On the other hand, if Tell Mama had started in 2014, the overall figure would have been 57!

We must ask two other questions. Of the “100 attacks on mosques and Muslim places of worship,” how many were reported to the police? How many resulted in convictions?

That means that at least some – or many – of the reports to Tell Mama (as facilitated by its convenient ‘Submit a report’ section) might have been, at best, exaggerations, and, at worst, lies.

Finally, note also that on the map of the UK above there are some coloured circles on the top of different coloured circles. This may hint at the fact that the same “attack” has been counted twice. After all, even though the circles only half-cover the circles below them, that needs to be the case because the viewer wouldn’t realise that there had been two attacks if one circle were completely covered by another. Thus both circles may cover exactly the same geographical place because they’re different symbolisations of the very same attack under two different categorisations.

Let’s just take one example from the map.

In the North East of England area, there’s a red circle (symbolising “vandalism”) half-covering a dark blue circle (symbolising “criminal damage”). Now is this the same attack counted twice? After all, vandalism simply is criminal damage! (This double-counting possibility is further covered under individual headings below.)

In addition, the categorisations of most of the attacks are perverse. So let’s go through them one at a time.

1) “Anti-Muslim literature”

Is Tell Mama confusing anti-Islamic literature with “anti-Muslim literature”? This is the case because anti-Muslim literature is often – or always! – portrayed as racist. Yet it’s harder to do that with anti-Islamic literature. (Then again, there are plenty of Muslims and progressives who classify anti-Islamic literature as racist too!) Let’s give Fiyaz Mughal the benefit of the doubt here and say that at least some of this literature was indeed “anti-Muslim.” But even here we’d need to ask what, exactly, that means. It could mean anything!

2) “Arson/arson threat”

Note firstly the fact that arson and the threat of arson are cleverly fused together here. Arson, to state the obvious, is massively different from the threat of arson. Indeed, for all we know, the proportion of threats of arson to actual arson could be something like 1000 to 1. That is, 1000 threats to every actual act of arson. The truth is that actual acts of arson (in the UK) have been extremely rare; compared to, say, the burning down of churches or Hindu temples in Pakistan. (Mughal is of Pakistani heritage.)

3) “Assault”

Here again Tell Mama trades on ambiguity. After all, there’s such a thing as verbal assault and acts of physical assault are classified as “physical assault.” This leads me to conclude that perhaps all these “assaults” were verbal in nature. It doesn’t stop there. What form did these verbal assaults take? It could be something like this: “Muhammed was a beheader of hundreds of Jews and other kuffar.” (A true historical claim.) Or: “Why do ‘moderate Muslims’ very rarely deal with their own extremists?”

4) “Criminal damage”

Is arson “criminal damage”? If it is, then it could quite easily be the case that Tell Mama is counting the very same attack twice (i.e., under two headings). Once as “arson” and again as “criminal damage.”

5) Hate mail

As with 4) above, can’t hate mail also be classed as “anti-Muslim literature”? Here again, perhaps the same incident is being counted twice. Once as “anti-Muslim literature” and again as “hate mail.” Not only that:

If hate mail is anti-Muslim literature, and anti-Muslim literature is anti-Islamic literature, then anti-Islamic literature is also hate mail.

6) “Attacks involving pork products”

This doesn’t even deserve a response. (Is this something from Monty Python?)

7) “Incident at a far-right protest”

This is even more vague – and intentionally vague! (It also sounds like a BBC play.) The Tell Mama’s image/visual is meant to be about attacks on mosques. How does an incident at a far-right protest connect with “attacks on mosque”? I suppose an attack on a mosque could have happened during a protest. But then Tell Mama would have given that a separate category. In addition, what is meant by the word “incident”? Did someone fart outside a mosque or something?

8) “Threat”

Vagueness again. Anything can be classed as a “threat.” It doesn’t even need to be a threat of violence because, again, if it had been, Tell Mama would have classified it under a different heading. As it is, someone can threaten to burn the Koran. Sure, someone can also threatened to kill a Muslim. But, like the “Arson/arson threat” earlier, threats to kill occur all the time on Facebook (often from Muslims) and even on the street. And, again like arson, threats to kill will outnumber actual killings by thousands to one… or more!

9) “Vandalism”

Just as Tell Mama may have fused “hate mail” with “anti-Muslim literature,” so here it appears to have also fused “vandalism” with “criminal damage”; which itself may well have been fused with “arson”! Fiyaz Mughal is simply replicating the various categorisations of assaults in order to make things look a lot worse than they actually are. (As he did by going back to 2013, rather than 2014, in his survey of “attacks.”)

10) “Verbal abuse”

What I said about “vandalism” and “anti-Muslim literature” occurs again with “verbal abuse.” Verbal abuse can be see as either “threat.” And, like most of the other entries, the words “verbal abuse” are splendidly vague. Abuse of what or whom? The Koran? Muhammed? A Muslim? Even if it were a Muslim, since Fiyaz Mughal has fused anti-Islamic literature with “anti-Muslim literature,” perhaps his “verbal abuse” may include abuses of Islam, not of Muslims.

11) “Violent extremism”

Luckily, Tell Mama’s image does furnish us with an explanation of this category. It goes as follows:

“Violent extremism refers to violent attacks (including bombings) as well as threats to bomb and burn down mosques.”

“Bombings”? Come again? How many bombings have there actually been of mosques in the UK? None! Perhaps Fiyaz Mughal is getting pork attacks mixed up with bombings. This fusion and replication of categories is really beginning to annoy me. Thus we now have “violent extremism,” which may include “threats to burn down mosques” (which already has its own category). And, as I’ve already said, for every 1000 threats (or more) there is one act of arson/physical abuse. And my figures are underestimates!


Despite the deliberate vagueness and ambiguity throughout Tell Mama’s list/image, I’m still pretty sure than Fiyaz Mughal will be aware of the legal definitions of some – or all – of his categories. Indeed I also suspect that he might have had the help of a lawyer; as well as assistance from Leftist academics (such as the hate-filled Nathan Lean, who’s on the Advisory Board of Tell Mama).

That wouldn’t surprise anyone. Lawyers aren’t only concerned with written and spoken clarity. They’re also concerned with political causes and winning cases. Thus, a left-wing lawyer would be happy to indulge in what people call “lawfare” (as Tell Mama itself is). Indeed progressive/socialist lawyers are taking part in acts of lawfare all the time. That means that a large part of today’s legal profession is tailor-made to further the political aims and causes of organisations like Fiyaz Mughal’s Tell Mama.



Paul Austin Murphy lives in West Yorkshire, England. He’s had articles published by American ThinkerThink-IsraelLiberty GBBroadside News, Human Events, Faith Freedom, etc.

He also runs the blogs Paul Austin Murphy on Politics and Paul Austin Murphy’s Philosophy.


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