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OpIndia’s coverage of anti-Hindu violence in Leicester broke the back of Islamist propaganda peddled by leftist news outlets. Here is how

In an intellectually dishonest piece, Khan had distinctly associated religious identity with groups of Hindu protestors, with phrases such as “unplanned protest of Hindu men,” and “Hindu men were filmed marching.”

The day was August 28, 2022. India had defeated its arch-rival, Pakistan, in the group stage match of the Asia Cup. The Dubai International stadium, which hosted the match, was filled with the loud cheer and applause of Indian fans.

But far off in Leicester in England’s East Midlands region, things were starting to take an ugly turn. A casual banter between Indian and Pakistani supporters turned serious when the latter snatched and disrespected the Indian National Flag on Belgrave Road in Leicester.

A man, dressed in black, was seen pushing and shoving Indian supporters who came in his way. The video of the incident went viral online with claims that racist slogans such as ‘death to Muslims’ and ‘death to Pakistan’ were raised in Hindi.

The foundation was being carefully laid for a story of false victimhood and the special reference to ‘racist chanting in Hindi’ suggested that the conflict was the handiwork of the Indian Hindu diaspora.

One of the first individuals to lend credence to this disinformation was Leicestershire Police Chief Inspector, Paul Allen. In a letter to the Leicester Council of Faiths on August 31, he reiterated the false claim that a small group of people called for the death of Muslims and Pakistan.

However, just a day later, he backtracked from his claims and asserted that there was no evidence for any such racist chanting. However, the damage had already been done.

Screengrab of the email transcript by Allen paul, image via Insight UK

Pakistan was able to settle scores with India during its second encounter with India in the Asia Cup on September 4. Off the field, its supporters attacked a Hindu home celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi.

“Eggs were thrown into the house, attempted knifing of a young Hindu male and his aunt was punched on the nose when she came to save him. The incident took place while guests were arriving for the Ganpati Darshan,” informed Insight UK.

The accused men also received overwhelming support from their co-religionists on social media. The Leicester Police again took cognisance of the matter. Both Hindu and Muslim leaders made a joint appeal on September 5 in the hopes of restoring peace in the city.

Screengrab of the tweets by the police

“Hindus listened to their leaders but 100s of Muslims, some from outside Leicester gathered & orchestrated approx 50 Hindu hate attacks. 1 Hindu youth was stabbed & another barely escaped. Hindu homes attacked, windows broken & Bhagwa flag debased,” informed the Twitter handle.

Homes, cars and properties belonging to the Hindu community, which were easily identifiable with sacred symbols, were damaged. And thus began the month-long orgy of violence by Islamists, fuelled by disinformation against the Hindu community.

Fake news peddled by Islamists led to real-life violence against Hindus

On September 11, Australian researcher Sarah L Gates pointed out how Islamists had resorted to making outlandish claims to deviate public discourse from the targeted attacks on Hindus.

One of the conspiracy theories peddled by the extremists was that a copy of the Quran was ‘ripped apart’ by Hindutva supporters.

On September 13, a conspiracy theorist and Muslim fanatic by the name of Majid Freeman alleged that 3 men had tried to abduct a teenage Muslim girl. “CONFIRMED: An incident took place this morning not far from a college in Leicester,” he tweeted.

“A Muslim teenager was approached by 3 men but she ran away into the school. The college & police are aware of it and the family have been given an incident number by Leicester Police,” he claimed.

Screengrab of the tweet by Majid Freeman

The conspiracy theorist even claimed to have met the family of the girl, who was traumatised by the alleged kidnapping attempt. “The girl is very shaken but she is ok alhamdulillah. They’ve reported the incident to the police. Hopefully, we’ll get to the bottom of this and the people behind it are caught,” he said.

Screengrab of the tweet by Majid Freeman

The fake news was then amplified by other Islamists, who alleged the role of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the alleged abduction attempt. The Hindu man, falsely accused of kidnapping the Muslim girl, was doxxed on Facebook and his residential address was leaked on social media.

On September 14, the Leicester police debunked the disinformation through a press release. It said, “Yesterday we issued an appeal following a report that a teenage girl had been approached by three men in the area of Richmond Way, Leicester, on Monday morning.”

“A full investigation has been carried out. Following extensive enquiries, we have established that the incident did not take place and no offence was committed,” the cops confirmed.

The deliberate attempt by Majid Freeman to stoke hysteria in the Muslim community and lay the foundation of violence against the Leicester Hindus did not stop the city Mayor to arrange a meeting with him.

In a bid to control the unrest in Leicester, Chief Superintendent Adam Slonecki granted dispersal and stop search powers to the police. “Incidents of violence will not be tolerated and the orders have been authorised to protect our communities and provide safety to those living in the area,” it said in a statement.

On September 16, the police informed that a total of 27 people were arrested in connection with the violence.

Islamists also tried to use the trope of provocation to justify their attacks on the Hindu community. They claimed that Hindus raised anti-Islamic slogans whereas they only chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Vande Mataram.’ Majid Freeman was yet again at the helm of this fake news.

Islamists began making calls for mobilisation, which eventually led to the targeted attack on a Hindu temple. In a viral video, an Islamist was seen desecrating a Hindu place of worship and uprooting a saffron flag.

The Leicester police took cognisance of the matter and tweeted, “We are aware of video circulating showing a man pulling down a flag outside a religious building on Melton Road. This appears to have taken place while officers were dealing with nearby public disorder. We do not tolerate violence or disorder and are investigating the incident.”

Islamists then came up with the claim that a mosque was attacked, a piece of fake news that was promptly debunked by the Leicester police.

In a statement, it said, “We’ve seen reports on social media that a mosque is being attacked. Officers on the ground have confirmed this is not true. Please only share information on social media you know to be true.”

A day later, Islamist ‘scholar’, Mohammed Hijab, was seen mocking Hinduism and inciting Muslims to attack the Hindus. In a video that has now surfaced on social media, he was seen interacting with mask-clad Muslim men and encouraging them to teach the local Hindu population ‘a lesson’.

“When I was on social media, I saw these people (Hindus) getting brave. How come today it is like pin-drop silence?” the British Egyptian ‘scholar’ was heard as saying. He claimed that no Hindus were in sight after realising that Muslim mobs were coming at them in hordes.

“Cause they (Hindus) fear us when they are near us”, responded an Islamist from the crowd. Pumped by the support of the like-minded people in the crowd, Hijab said, “Deep down, they know we got the truth. If you want respect, then, learn to respect.”

“If they (Hindus) believe in reincarnation, what a humiliation of them to be reincarnated into some pathetic, weak, cowardly people like that,” the Islamist went on an anti-Hindu tirade.

“Hindutva (Hindus), you are trying to act like gangsters…Don’t ever come out like that again (referring to the protests by Hindus in Leicester). Do you understand? Are they going to come out again?” he continued his threats.

Amidst the war cry of Allah hu Akbar, Mohammed Hijab cautioned that he and his supporters would be there if Hindus ‘dared’ to protest against the violence, committed by his co-religionists.

In an Instagram post, Hijab was seen leading a frenzied mob of Islamists, with their faces covered in masks. “Muslim patrol in Leicester,” he wrote in his post.

On September 18, a Twitter user named aart123 posted a 1-minute long video, alleging that a bus belonging to Angel Tours has been ferrying ‘masked Hindutva thugs’ to Leicester. It also claimed that the supposed mobilisation of Hindus was being done at the behest of a Hindu temple.

Soon after, Islamists dug out a year-old picture which showed a group of BJP supporters, standing in front of an Angel Tours’ bus’. “This is the coach in Leicester Angel Tours belonging to Ealing Temple London and the group openly supports BJP,” wrote one Ash.

On September 23, Islamist scholar Ali Dawah tried to mainstream the conspiracy theory that RSS workers came in droves to stoke communal tensions in the area.

This was despite the fact that the owner of the tour company, Angel Tours, denied all the allegations, and said that his buses did not go to Leicester for the past 2 months.

He clarified that the buses of his company always stop in front of the temple as it is a major landmark and people are well-acquainted with the place. The owner, Yatin Bhimani, said that his buses are parked there only for convenience, and his coach company has no link with the temple.

Based on the fake news that RSS workers were bussed to Leicester with the help of a Hindu temple, Islamists called for a mass mobilisation outside the Shree Sanatan Hindu Mandir in London from 12 pm onwards on September 25.

The said Hindu temple is located off Ealing Road in Wembley in northwest London. In a tweet, Australian research scholar Sarah L Gates pointed out how an Instagram account named ‘Apna Muslims’ had been instigating violence against the Hindu community.

In a story, the handle demonised the Shree Sanatan Hindu Mandir as the ‘hornet’s nest of Nazi Hindutva’ and called for gathering outside its premises. In this way, ‘Apna Muslims’ laid a perfect ground for Islamists to justify any attacks on the temple.

The Instagram account (now deactivated) boasted of 1240+ followers and was dedicated to promoting Islamist causes in the United Kingdom. Following the threat, the Chairman of the temple was forced to issue a statement of peace while being gheraoed by two Muslim men, sporting skull caps and long beards.

“We are a peaceful community and have always been living in harmony with multi-faith surroundings. (We are doing so) for the past many decades without any problems and hope to do it forever”, the temple Chairman was heard as saying.

“Let us all hold unity and respect for each other,” the temple Chairman concluded. One Muslim man, standing by his side, appeared to nod in agreement.

“We strongly encourage everyone to do so. We believe that these protests (outside the temple premises) should not take place for the sake of peace and harmony of all the communities,” he emphasised.

The disinformation peddled by Islamists was legitimised by leftist news media outlets. Understanding the close nexus between the two is crucial to understanding the victimisation of the Hindu community. And Opindia has been the frontrunner in debunking disinformation about the Leicester violence.

BBC provided a platform to Islamists to amplify fake news

Majid Freeman, who has been at the helm of this disinformation campaign about Hindu mobs attacking Muslims, was interviewed by the BBC to set the narrative in favour of the perpetrators.

After blaming Hindus for the violence committed by Islamists, BBC attempted to do a tacit u-turn by reporting that there was no evidence that the violence was started by Hindus.

While BBC acknowledged the fact grudgingly, there were subtle hints that showed the intention of BBC, where they continued to whitewash the Jihadi elements who instigated violence against Hindus.

In a recent report titled “Did misinformation fan the flames in Leicester?”, BBC said, “Some people link the disorder and the reaction to it to the Hindutva ideology. They believe that Indian politics is being imported to the city, but thus far the BBC has found no direct link to such groups in the run-up to the disorder”.

After days of trying to push the narrative that Hindus were responsible for the violence while using Hindutva as a euphemism, this seemed to be the best acknowledgement that we could possibly get from BBC that it was indeed the Islamists who went on a rampage against Hindus.

The Guardian whitewashed Islamist violence in Leicester

Opindia exposed the tactics, adopted by The Guardian journalist Aina J Khan, to blame the violence against Hindus in Leicester on themselves.

In an intellectually dishonest piece, Khan had distinctly associated religious identity with groups of Hindu protestors, with phrases such as “unplanned protest of Hindu men,” and “Hindu men were filmed marching.”

However, she shrewdly chose not to point out the religious affiliation of the man who desecrated a Hindu temple and uprooted a saffron flag. In a bid to shield her co-religionist who desecrated the Hindu place of worship, Aina J khan used the bait of a ‘good Imam.’

The Guardian journalist thereby shifted the public discourse from the vicious attack on a temple by her co-religionist to the alleged benevolence of a ‘bystander’ Imam. When OpIndia pointed out the obvious discrepancy in her reportage, Aina J Khan cried foul and dubbed the criticism as ‘Islamophobia.’

Screengrab of the Guardian article

On October 17, the anti-semitic organisation ‘Stop Funding Hate (SFH)’ went on an unhinged tirade against Opindia for exposing ‘The Guardian’.

‘Stop Funding Hate’ desperately wanted to strip OpIndia of advertisement revenue for showcasing the true plight of Leicester Hindus to the world, who were left at the mercy of Islamists and their sympathisers in the media industry.

In a tweet, SFH wrote, “If you’re concerned about the toxic narratives being promoted on OpIndia, there’s a way to take action. Go to this webpage and take a screenshot showing the advertiser. Tweet the screenshot to the brand.”

Screengrab of the tweet by ‘Stop Funding Hate’

Reuters journalist blamed the violence on fake news from India

Reuters journalist Rina Chandran gave a new twist to the Leicester carnage and blamed the Indian Hindus for violence perpetrated by radical Islamists.

In a propaganda piece published in ‘Context’ (a media platform run by Thomas Reuters Foundation), Chandran alleged that disinformation, which supposedly originated in India, was the cause of Hindu-Muslim unrest in Leicester city in England’s East Midlands region.

“Rumour had it that a Muslim girl had been kidnapped and a Hindu temple had sent masked thugs into combat,” she wrote, without mentioning that both these rumours were conceived in Leicester and disseminated by the Islamists living there.

OpIndia pointed out how Rina Chandran resorted to false balance despite the fact that it was only the Hindu community which has been at the receiving end of violence. The ‘brown sepoy’ shrewdly pointed out the fake stories without specifying the group that spread it in the first place.

Rina Chandran
Screengrab of the article by Rina Chandran

For the fake abduction story of a Muslim girl, she conceded that it was debunked by the police without mentioning that Islamists deliberately spread it to create a foundation for violence against Hindus.

Chandran employed a similar strategy for the fake story about ‘truckloads of RSS workers’ being brought to Leicester by ‘Angel Tours.’ Citing BBC and Logically, She then relied on ‘experts’ such as Logically and BBC, who claimed that disinformation that supposedly led to the unrest in Leicester came from India. 

The assertion was based on the fact that the majority of the tweets about Leicester violence originated from India. Given that the Hindu population in India is close to a billion and that the community was concerned about the atrocities committed by Islamists in far-off Leicester, it explains why most tweets demanding justice for Hindus were from India.

Chandran then downplayed the attack on the Hindu temple and went on to insinuate the hand of the BJP government in violence, committed miles away in Leicester.

The Wire gave a platform to Islamist who claimed Leicester violence was provoked by RSS

In such an attempt to whitewash the crime of Muslims, the leftist portal The Wire interviewed UK-based author and journalist Amrit Wilson, who claimed that the violence was provoked by RSS.

In the interview, Wilson claimed that coachloads of RSS supporters were brought to Leicester from other places in UK to provoke trouble and conflict. She claimed that this was done with the objective of ‘strengthening the narrative that Hindus are victims.’

Quoting Wilson, The Wire journalist Sumedha Pal tweeted, “Coach Loads of RSS supporters went to Leicester to provoke conflict which can then be used in India to further Islamophobia & strengthening the narrative of Hindu victimisation.”

She claimed that RSS is working towards creating the narrative of Hinduphobia, to label any criticism of PM Narendra Modi as anti-Hindu. The journalist also claimed that RSS has closed links with Zionist organisations, and is following the strategy of Zionists to label any criticism of Israel as antisemitic.

This was despite the fact that OpIndia had already debunked the conspiracy theory. In conclusion, religious affiliation and nationality (to some extent) were at play in the series of attacks against Hindus in Leicester.

This explains why the likes of ‘journalists’ Kallol Bhattacharjee and Deepal Trivedi are now trying to blame it on Gujaratis (ethnic angle) and discounting the Islamist angle.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Duttahttps://dibakardutta.in/
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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