Owen Jones is using his suspected hate attack to platform minorities
Journalist and activist Owen Jones said he was the victim of premeditated assault by “far-right thugs”.
Now, he’s using the attack to platform others.
The Guardian columnist was celebrating his 35th birthday with friends early Saturday morning when a group of men charged at him “with military precision”.
“There was a group of six of us, they had to go between us [to get to me],” he told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, August 19.
Jones said that he was in no doubt that the incident, which took place outside of a pub in Islington, London, was anything other than a targeted attack, but insisted: “This isn’t just about me.”
“I’m a white guy with a media platform,” he said. “There are minorities being attacked but these people don’t get to talk to the Today programme or appear in headlines.”
This isn’t just about me
Jones spoke of a rise in far-right extremism on both sides of the Atlantic, pointing to the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, the foiled plot to kill Labour MP Rosie Cooper and the Finsbury Park terror attack as symptoms.
Owen Jones blames politicians and media for hate.
He accused politicians and the mainstream media of normalising extremist views and whipping up hatred against migrants and Muslim communities.
“We’ve got to have the conversation of a legitimised and emboldened far-right and talk about the role of mainstream politicians and much of the mainstream media who are responsible for stoking up hatred,” he said.
When asked why he suspected the attack was a hate crime, Jones listed a number of occasions when he has been “systematically and deliberately targeted by far-right activists”.
“I’m targeted because I’m the antithesis of what they stand for,” he explained. “I’m gay, I’m a socialist, I’m involved in anti-fascist organisations.”
The Metropolitan Police has confirmed that it is investigating the incident and is looking into whether or not it was a hate crime.
Terror statistics confirm rise of white extremism.
Home Office statistics published in June confirmed that 41 percent of terror suspects arrested in the year ending March 2019 were white extremists – more than any other group.
The figures show how the far-right has become “an organised threat with tentacles reaching out of Europe,” counter-terrorism expert Raffaello Pantucci told The Independent.
He said that there was “undoubtedly” a wider context behind the rise of white extremism, which he said has been fed by anti-migrant and anti-Muslim sentiments, as well as Brexit.