Ten months ago, in the paper, I revealed how Tell Mama, a project purporting to measure anti-Muslim attacks, had exaggerated the scale and nature of attacks against Muslims both before and after the murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich. I later revealed that Tell Mama's public funding had not been renewed after government officials raised similar concerns about its methods.
Tell Mama's founder, Fiyaz Mughal, said that there had been a "wave of attacks" against Muslims, with 193 "Islamophobic incidents" reported to it in the first five days (to 27 May), rising to 212 by June 1, the eve of publication of our first article.
"I do not see an end to this cycle of violence", said Mughal, describing it as "unprecedented". Tell Mama's Twitter feed claimed that a Muslim woman had been "knocked unconscious" in Bolton, a claim recycled in the Guardian. "The scale of the backlash is astounding," Mughal told the BBC. "There has been a massive spike in anti-Muslim prejudice. A sense of endemic fear has gripped Muslim communities." According to Mughal, the unprecedented spike proved British society's "underlying Islamophobia." These claims, and Tell Mama's figures, were unquestioningly repeated across the media.