The latest attack on a Muslim man shows the influence that one tweet can have. And it’s scary.

Sam Woolfe

The recent terror attacks in the UK have resulted in tension and retaliation. On 19 June, Darren Osborne allegedly drove a van into Muslim worshippers near Finsbury Park mosque in London. In a more recent attack, in Heckmondwike, West Yorkshire, a group of thugs knocked a Muslim man unconscious outside his home. The attackers also revealed the inspiration for their violence, as they graffitied his home with a line from a tweet by Katie Hopkins.

Katie Hopkins isn’t harmless

The Mail columnist is infamous because of her deeply offensive and shocking statements. But this latest attack shows that her opinions aren’t just outrageous. Her influence is sowing real and serious division in this country. In this instance, her hateful opinions have led to hateful actions. Following the Manchester attack, Hopkins tweeted:

The attackers graffitied this controversial line, “We need a final solution”, which echoes the Nazi term for the extermination of the Jewish people. Even Hopkins realised she’d overstepped by using that term and claimed it was a typo for “true solution”. But the resulting controversy led to her losing her job at LBC Radio. The fact the attackers also included the misspelt “#Machester” hashtag makes it even more likely they were aping the Hopkins tweet.

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Fighting the hate

In response to the incident, Detective Inspector John Carlton said:

I would like to reassure the local community that offences of this nature are extremely rare. We are taking the matter extremely seriously and we have increased our patrols in the area.

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Unfortunately, findings show that anti-Muslim hate crimes have been on the rise since the Manchester and London Bridge attacks. An increased police presence will help to prevent violent attacks against innocent people. But tackling these incidents – whether they’re inspired by religious or anti-Muslim extremism – also depends on bringing people together. And this kind of positive response has been much more widespread.

Following the Manchester attack, the Muslim community held a ‘peace walk‘ to “show solidarity with the families of those who died”. Muslims also gathered to lay flowers to show respect for those killed and injured during the London Bridge attack. And a minute’s silence was held across the country in light of the Finsbury Park mosque attack.

Perhaps the greatest antidote to the kind of xenophobia promoted by Hopkins will come from these acts and expressions of solidarity. We won’t solve anything by simply getting outraged at what she says.

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– See more articles from The Canary on the issue of terrorism and the far right.

Featured image via Pixabay

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