Brexit Unleashes Racism Against Muslims and Immigrants in U.K.

Online and offline racist abuse prompts the creation of a Twitter account and Facebook page dedicated to exposing the phenomenon.

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A screenshot of racist tweets targeted at Shazia Awan on Twitter.
A screenshot of racist tweets targeted at Shazia Awan on Twitter.Credit: Screenshot / Twitter

Since the results of the British Brexit referendum were announced on Friday, there have been open expressions of racist abuse, particularly directed at Muslim women and girls, the U.K. website of the International Business Times reported Sunday. Meanwhile, Britain's Sun website reported that in Cambridgeshire, laminated signs were distributed in English and Polish with the epithet "Leave the EU. No more Polish Vermin."

Since a majority of voters cast ballots in favor of Britain leaving the European Union, female Muslims have reported feeling alienated, even if they were born in the United Kingdom, the International Business Times said. One British-born Muslim Welsh businesswoman, Shazia Awan, who campaigned for Britain to remain in the European Union, said she was told to "pack her bags and go home" following the vote, the Business Times reported. 

Awan tweeted: "Don't see how this country can heal itself. The UK is my home yet I feel alienated," Warren Faulkner, whose Twitter handle is @foggyneiinfidel, responded: "Great can pack your bags, you're going home...BYE THEN." Awan responded: "Campaign was vile and racist. #Euref [meaning European Union referendum] has ruined country forever – someone just even told me to go home and am born in the UK."

She told the Independent news website: "Every ethnic minority, every decent person, everyone who is in a mixed race relationship or from a black, Asian minority ethnic background are going to feel this now. Now start the vile tweets,” she said.

The #PostRefRacism hashtag and account of the same name have attracted a series of testimonies by U.K. residents who have been subject to abuse since the referendum results were announced Friday morning.

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