Old videos of unconnected demonstrations are being circulated to falsely imply that U.K. Muslims want to impose an Islamic state.
Two videos from two different events have been widely shared on social media, with users claiming that they show that Muslims are demanding that the U.K. be declared an Islamic state. Neither of the events shows the Muslim community calling for this. Furthermore, this narrative is often used by far-right groups to sew fear and distrust against Muslims and has no basis in fact.
In one of the videos, a person on a stage can be seen giving a speech, while demonstrators holding placards with religious messages gather on the streets. A keyword search on YouTube took us to a video, which was originally uploaded on October 19, 2012, from the YouTube channel Takbir T.V. Therefore, the video is not a recent one. According to the video's description, the protests were against the release of the anti-Islam film, 'The Innocence of Muslims.'
The film's release led to several protests in the Middle East, North America, and Asia. The movie was widely criticized for its depiction and images of Prophet Muhammad. As the BBC notes, almost all Muslims prohibit pictures of Muhammed and other prophets.
Similarly, another short video of a procession was shared online, along with a caption stating that Muslims demanded England to be declared an Islamic state. However, this video was taken on Eid Milad, the Prophet Muhammad's birthday. The banner in the video reads, "Birthday celebrations of our Holy Prophet Muhammad. Eid Milad-un-Nabi."
The false narrative that Muslims want the U.K. to become an Islamic state is frequently pushed by right-wing, extremist groups. A report by Hope Not Hate from 2019 found that coverage of terrorist incidents had created a lasting, hostile attitude towards Muslims in the U.K., with 47 percent of Conservative voters surveyed stating that Islam was incompatible with British life. It is therefore extremely important that these claims and arguments are challenged.
It is clear that these videos do not represent what the creators of the posts claim to. Neither demonstration shows Muslims demanding an Islamic state, and this rhetoric has been used to stir up hostility towards the Muslim community.