On April 3, 2018, a Georgian online edition Alt-Info published news that London, for the first time in the last 200 years, overtook New York by number of homicides and connected this fact to the policy of the Muslim Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
Alt-Info: “For the first time in the last 200 years, London overtook New York with the number of homicides. This result is partly due to the policy implemented by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, which includes non-usage of search in case of ethnic minority representatives.”
The information disseminated by Alt-info.com is a manipulation. The primary source that both Alt-info and Breitbart articles are based on, does not regard Sadiq Khan at all. The crime statistics of London reveal that the crime problem was in the agenda before 2016, i.e. before Sadiq Khan got elected as the Mayor of London.
1. Alt-info bases its article on Breitbart, an outlet with a clear anti-migration editorial policy.
Alt-info indicates an ultranationalist outlet breitbart.com as the source, which, in turn, cites thetimes.co.uk as the primary source. According to the article by The Times, London did actually overtake New York by murder rate. This is further backed up by evidence: for instance, the total number of murders in London, excluding terrorism victims, has grown by 38% since 2014. However, the article does not mention the Muslim Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and his policy. Therefore, Breitbart, irrespective of the primary source, created its own manipulative content, which, in turn, was disseminated by the Georgian Alt-info, without any edits.
2. Crime has been a problem in London for a while.
Crime was a problem even before Sadiq Khan became the Mayor of London in 2016. For example, according to the statistics by London Police, the number of violations, that took place in 2017, hardly differs from the 2010-2011 indicators.
If we only consider the number of criminal acts committed with knife and guns in London, we will see that the 2017 indicator does not differ from the 2009 significantly. According to BBC, the highest rate of gun crime in London was recorded in 2007, when the number of such crime acts was 31% higher than today.
3. The information that Sadiq Khan allegedly bans the search of ethnic minorities is a lie.
As Alt-info mentions, the Mayor of London carries out a policy, according to which the police are not allowed to use the right to search regarding ethnic minorities. Actually, Sadiq Khan’s policy is directed against the abuse of power by the police, like stopping and searching people based only on their skin colour. His policy has been determined by the fact that people are frequently stopped and searched on the streets in England, especially, when it comes to black people, who are searched six times more often than white people.
Sadiq Khan’s policy implies that the police should not stop citizens based solely on their skin colour. Breitbart cites Evening Standard as the primary source, however, the article from this outlet provides somewhat different information:
Evening Standard: “Sadiq Khan promised to harden the rules to prevent the police officers from stopping and searching people based on their skin colour.”
Evening Standard: “Stopping and searching can have dramatic effects on the public. If Londoners are stopped and searched without reason, it will undermine the public trust in the police.”
The incumbent Mayor of London has become subject to disinformation on numerous occasions due to his belief and origin. One of the most popular disinformation about him is that he allegedly defended the terrorists who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks, and, according to some, even advocated for them. This disinformation was disseminated on June 3, 2017, following the terrorist attack in London. The accusation was “backed” by a video clip, which was obviously shot in different time on several different places and compiled together, without actually having any connection to the 9/11 attacks, whatsoever. In the video clip, Sadiq Khan evaluated the developments in Egypt in 2002, when three British men were killed on the accusations of an attempted coup d’état.
A Brexit campaign Leave.EU disseminated a disinformative poster concerning the Mayor of London, which portrayed Sadiq Khan himself and the following caption: “Londonistan – 423 new mosques, 500 closed churches, 100 sharia courts”. With this poster, Leave.EU was accusing Sadiq Khan of islamizing London, or turning it into Londonistan. However, all of the figures given on the poster were misleading:
- There are not 423 mosques in London. The Brexit campaign considered the praying rooms, designated for Muslims in London, located in public buildings, gyms, universities, airports as mosques.
- The accusation about 500 closed churches is a lie. As of 2013, 700 new churches were built in London. In 2008-2015, the number of churches in London increased by 2%.
Prepared by Lana Kapanadze
Myth Detector Lab