It was reported late last week that a couple of miserable bastards have carried out a number of acid attacks across east London. It’s believed that the majority of those targeted are food delivery drivers; that much I learnt from the Daily Mail’s UK edition. What I didn’t learn from the Mail, The Guardian, or the broadminded Independent was whether this was an attack motivated by racial, or religious hatred. The ‘M’ word – Muslim – was almost conspicuous by its absence, especially considering the recency of another attack on cousins Resham Khan and Jameel Muhktar – yes, you guessed it, Muslims.
To raise this argument without appropriate context would appear loaded, but I bring it up in view of the Sydney Morning Herald’s report of the same incident, which you can read here. To quote, reporter Henrietta Cook, “the incidents follow a spate of recent acid attacks in east London, which have left some Muslim residents fearful about leaving their homes amid speculation that they [the attacks] may have been motivated by racial, or religious hatred”. Now, either Henrietta knows more than her UK counterparts, or they are having to be far more circumspect in light of the sensitivities and the proximity of the attacks. I suspect it’s the latter. The facts need to be fully checked before you run the risk of ensuing panic in certain communities.
However, in view of the fact that the police officially treated the attack on Khan and Muhktar as a ‘hate crime’ and the importance of the public service remit of the media to keep publics fully informed, particularly when there’s a threat to human health, it would appear fully justified to include this aspect of the narrative. I will follow future coverage closely.