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Man arrested after tweet ‘confronting Muslim woman’ on Brussels attacks

Mullah-Imam-arrested-in-Kunduz

London: A British man who sparked outrage on Twitter with a message about confronting a Muslim woman over the Brussels attacks has been arrested on suspicion of inciting racial hatred, police said Thursday.

“I confronted a Muslim woman yesterday in Croydon. I asked her to explain Brussels. She said ‘Nothing to do with me’. A mealy mouthed reply,” the man, named by British media as PR executive Matthew Doyle, said in the original tweet posted on Wednesday.

I confronted Croydon and asked it to explain @MatthewDoyle31. Nobody had heard of him ever. A mealy mouthed reply. pic.twitter.com/wAJDWH7zv3

— Khamis M. Mustafa (@realkhamis) March 23, 2016

Schoolchildren tear off woman’s hijab in London

The message went viral, prompting angry reactions as well as mocking messages parodying his tweet.

Doyle defended himself in several subsequent tweets saying he had been “angry and emotive”, as well as apparently lashing out in a message saying: “Who cares if I insulted some towelhead??”

Who cares if I insulted some towelhead ?? Really.

— Matthew P Doyle (@MatthewDoyle31) March 23, 2016

In another tweet on his account @MatthewDoyle31, he wrote: “Britain is for Britain’s and those who accept our currency of decent behaviour and an intolerance of the Islamic threat to our nation.”

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Britain is for Britain’s and those who accept our currency of decent behaviour and an intolerance of the Islamic threat to our nation.

— Matthew P Doyle (@MatthewDoyle31) March 23, 2016

A police spokesperson said a 46-year-old man was arrested at his home in Croydon, south London, on Wednesday “on suspicion of inciting racial hatred on social media” and was taken into police custody.

Police later said he was taken to hospital on Thursday “after expressing concerns about his health” but that once out of hospital, he will be back in custody.

Doyle, 46, detailed the incident in an interview with The Daily Telegraph newspaper saying the woman he described in his tweet was white and British and wearing a hijab.

“I just said: ‘Excuse me, can I ask what you thought about the incident in Brussels?’” he explained.

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“I’m not some far-right merchant, I’m not a mouthpiece for any kind of racism or radicalism. If I was xenophobic I wouldn’t live in London,” he added.

Among the flood of reactions prompted by the man’s original message, one twitter user wrote: “What has a Muslim woman in Croydon got to do with the horrific events in Belgium, you simpleton?”

What has a Muslim woman in Croydon, got to do with the horrific events in Belgium, you simpleton?https://t.co/U8usNe3k83

— Raf (@1Rafz) March 23, 2016

‘I asked her to explain Brussels’ –

No you intimidated an innocent woman based on your racist prejudices https://t.co/QaSp4wCLIW

— Callie (@CallieThorpe) March 23, 2016

Not a mealy mouthed reply, a sane reply. It literally has nothing to do with her. https://t.co/dnoxgu8671

— Linda Marric (@Linda_Marric) March 23, 2016

Racially harasses women in the street, calls himself a ‘feminist’.

We don’t want you m8. https://t.co/FiXFTBOuIg

— Sarah M (@sazza_jay) March 23, 2016

There were more light-hearted responses too.

I confronted Croydon and asked it to explain @MatthewDoyle31. Nobody had heard of him. A mealy mouthed reply.

— Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) March 23, 2016

I confronted a dog today & asked him about that time when I was 4 and a dog bit me. “woof” he said. A mealy mouthed reply.

— TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) March 23, 2016

I confronted a French woman yesterday in Croydon. I asked her to explain rien. She said “It means nothing to me”. A mealy mouthed reply.

— Ian Power (@IHPower) March 23, 2016

I confronted a man who was eating a bowl of muesli yesterday in Croydon. He said “mmfflfffmufflrgh”. A mealy mouthed reply.

— Robbie Collin (@robbiereviews) March 23, 2016

I confronted an English man about the colonisation of Nigeria and the post-colonial unrest. He said “dunno mate.”
A mealy mouthed reply.

— kelz (@kelechnekoff) March 23, 2016

AFP

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