On the early morning of Tuesday, something extraordinary happened – the power of social media came to life once more and elicited a different kind of change. A video of a group of school bullies physically assaulting, and ‘waterboarding’ a younger boy, went viral. Not long after this, the boy was identified as a Syrian refugee who had fled a war zone and come to England with his family seeking a better life.
This is a video of the Syrian lads sister being attacked. A campaign of hate and bullying against two refugees at Almondbury Community school in Huddersfield. Cover ups at the school. What are you doing about this? @KirkleesCouncil #Huddersfield pic.twitter.com/tpg3GnWNYm
— Baidu Sheikh (@TheBaidu) November 28, 2018
This English boy, who attacked a Syrian refugee at his school (in this video), and allegedly attacked him before and put his arm in a cast, has been arrested and charged.
Yet, the school should also be reprimanded. His sister was also victimized by xenophobic bullies. pic.twitter.com/oKiYxRqEEO
— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) November 30, 2018
What happened on Tuesday evening? An image began to surface through meme accounts AsianPlugTV who have 154k followers, Haraaam Banter with 127k followers and between these two accounts, they have a reach of 281,000k followers. These two accounts to the best of my knowledge were amongst the first to bring to the spotlight the horrific treatment of a Syrian refugee by a bully at Almondbury Community School. The victim now known as Jamal was dragged onto the floor by his neck while water was forced into his mouth as the bully screams ‘drown’. What made this incident even more heartbreaking was the fact that the victim put up no fight (although he was physically unable to as his arm was in a cast) and no one intervened to help. Instead, the whole incident was recorded as pupils stood by jeered and watched.
Now with foresight details emerged that the incident took place on the 25th of October and was reported to the police and school. However, nothing happened until 2 days ago when the video went viral on those two accounts. Within two days of putting up the videos and advocating for Justice- the bully a 16-year-old boy was charged with assault, the school acknowledged the incident, ITV news, The Independent, and Sky news reported it and by Thursday morning £120,000 was raised for Jamal and his family. This showcased the power that we hold when we come together.
When I first saw the incident online I felt a sense of anger and hopelessness for this poor boy who escaped a war in search for a better future, only to suffer here. I was not the only one who felt this way. When reading the comments countless people expressed their anger but also were productive with this outrage.
One comment left suggested ‘phoning up the school and complaining about the alleged bully’- The School was forced to release a statement acknowledging the incident rather than ignoring it.
Another comment left suggested ‘starting a Go fund me page’ – £120,000 was raised. A further comment left suggested ‘tagging Ofsted, politicians, big news agencies and celebrities’ – It is now being reported on most British News agencies, Premier league’s star Jonas Lossi invited Jamal and his whole family to a game.
Historically Muslims have not been portrayed in the best light within British media. The whole Muslim Community is blamed for the actions of a very few. More importantly, I believe where we are severely lacking in the media when it comes to Muslim representation since we have a minimal selection of voices to represent us.
What this new generation offers is the chance for us to be heard. It no longer matters if we are not portrayed the way we would like to be by media, we now have the platforms to do that ourselves. The two meme pages with a large Muslim following have contributed to the video going viral, therefore the accountability of school bullies carrying out the vile vitriol of their environment.
Once it went viral there was a unifying moment, where the video fell into the more mainstream online space and a widespread support emerged from all races and religions who felt empathy for the boy. Perhaps they never would have been exposed (or very unlikely to have been) if it was not for humanity coming together and spotlighting this incident into the limelight.
When we come together as one we surely are unstoppable. No longer is it necessary to rely on the News to tell our story. We are our own narrative and now we can tell the world our story.
— Azad Ali (@azadaliCCM) November 30, 2018
The bully and his family were driven out of their own home after a video of him bullying a 15 year old syrian refugee with a cast went viral, with the bully threatening to drown the victim after pouring water on his face. Did he deserve this? #JusticeForJamal pic.twitter.com/kjbT2LTxod
— Adam Abid (@AdamAbid97) November 28, 2018
— Media Diversified (@WritersofColour) November 29, 2018
— George Galloway (@georgegalloway) November 28, 2018
— LilyMelencia (@DalilaDecar23) November 28, 2018
The power of social media is amazing #JusticeForJamal
— Imran Nurmagomedov (@Khaanyounot) November 28, 2018
— Yoginder Sikand (@Al_Kindi801) November 29, 2018
— Sarah ❄️♥️سارة (@RaisedToRespect) November 29, 2018
🔹Once again we see anti Islam bigot @MaajidNawaz doing his level best to make #JusticeForJamal Campaign ALL about himself.
Stay seated Maajid your over inflated ego desperate for attention AGAIN. https://t.co/zlxSCJZlIo
— Alia Batuba (@Sister_Alia) November 30, 2018
Absolutely disgusting how a Syrian refugee flees his home just to move to the UK and endure the same level of danger at a place of education #JusticeForJamal
— Laila🇲🇦 (@lailaa_xx) November 28, 2018
Honestly these video of the young Syrian refugees getting bullied in school has broken my heart just put yourself in their shoes, you run away from madness only to seek refuge In a country where people don't want you there.
— . (@Zyn_b1) November 28, 2018
So Tommy Robinson bullshitted about the Syrian refugee from Huddersfield saying they tried to beat up another student and now the family are suing him with the money raised from the gofundme. I. FUCKING. LOVE. THIS. SONG. pic.twitter.com/zURrMoRomH
— Jax (@jaxLFC88) November 29, 2018
I am a recent law graduate who does occasional pro bono work for local Masjids in London. I am a cat lover, coffee addict, and storyteller. I enjoy travelling, learning new cultures and watching anime. I hope to one day start a women-centered law firm that specialises in human rights.