Police announce hate crime officer online, she gets Islamophobic abuse

10/12/2022 11:04 AM

Leicestershire Police is investigating trolls that flooded its new hate crime officer, a black hijabi Muslim woman, with racist and Islamophobic abuse when her appointment was announced on social media.

Sumaya Bihi introduced herself on Leicestershire Police Stay Safe Twitter account last week and received a barrage of abusive comments on the post.  

The tweet received more than 1,500 comments, with many also congratulating the officer on her appointment.

The abuse included racist and derogatory language and remarks regarding her hijab, appearance and faith.

"We are supporting our Hate Crime Officer in a number of ways," Leicestershire Police told Islam Channel in a statement. "Unacceptable messages have been reported to Twitter and we have opened our own enquiries into the abuse."

Anti-Islamophobia charity MEND reshared the post and said it was "the reality" of being "a Black Muslim woman."  

"The announcement was met with an influx of racist & Islamophobic hate. A lot of which was Hindutva/RSS-inspired," tweeted MEND.

It highlighted some of the Islamophobic abuse and attempts by trolls to amplify the recent tensions between Hindus and Muslims in the city.  

Encouragement and support

The police are continuing their inquiries over the violence between some sections of the Hindu and Muslim community in Leicester a few weeks ago.

Leicester South MP Jon Ashworth said in a tweet: "This abuse is utterly unacceptable. I know Sumaya, she is brilliant, dedicated and hugely talented."

"Police must investigate thoroughly trolls including those who hide behind anonymous accounts. Leicester is united in saying we won’t let hate divide us."

There were also many other comments of encouragement and support on the post.

"Big up Sumaya. You’ll do a great job. Says so much about some of the scourge in our society when a Hate Crime Officer experience such vitriol! Be proud, be strong and show them what you’re made of! , said Yasmin Surti.

The Race Equality Centre tweeted: "Congratulations on your new post, we hope to see you soon in person. I can see you're already receiving hate via Twitter just because you're a Muslim. About time social media platforms took responsibility for policing this kind of abuse...."

The APPG on Hate Crime said: "Congratulations on your new role."