I've never been involved nor had a friend involved with a hate crime before. I didn't know what to expect or how that would feel. I've read stories in the news. I've read about 'The Sophie Lancaster Foundation' online. In fact, I first heard of it because of my friend Mika. On 13 July, Mika went out with one of his best friends - a girl who dresses alternatively and has a lot of tattoos. They were in a chicken shop in Soho when a couple of guys took a disliking to her alternative look. They threatened to stab her because of the way she was dressed, Mika stood in and was beaten so badly, he now has a fracture in his face.
Tell MAMA has recorded over 200 anti-Muslim incidents, both online and offline in nature, during the post-Woolwich period. Such incidents have included targeted hate statements and anti-Muslim abuse, through to property being damaged, anti-Muslim literature being circulated and mosques being targeted.
Criminals often target sex workers and other 'hate crime' groups, before moving on to the wider public. Two of the most notorious serial killers Peter Sutcliffe and Gary Leon Ridgway initially murdered sex workers before targeting other women. So if we can get sex workers to report crimes, everyone gains.
Yes, the violent protests in the Middle East are upsetting but so are these equally violent hate crimes in the streets of London and Manchester. Radicalism and violence are not reserved for Muslims; here we see white men (79% of perpetrators of hate crimes were white men) being just as radical and violent.