LONDON—A British man who sent a Twitter message about challenging a Muslim woman over the Brussels attacks has been charged with inciting racial hatred, London police said Friday.
Matthew Doyle, a 46 year old public relations executive from South London, provoked criticism—and some support—after putting his post on the social media platform in the wake of Tuesday’s twin bombings in the Belgian capital that claimed more than 30 lives.
“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,” said the post from a Twitter account in Mr. Doyle’s name.
Police arrested Mr. Doyle on Wednesday after widespread reaction to his post.
He has since been charged with a public order offense, namely “publishing or distributing written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, likely or intended to stir up racial hatred,” said the Metropolitan Police in a statement.
Under U.K. law, posting offensive social media messages can be classed as a hate crime and lead to criminal prosecution. …
In an interview with the U.K. newspaper The Daily Telegraph published on Wednesday, Mr. Doyle said he had been arrested for sending the tweet, and defended his actions.
“What everyone’s got wrong about this is I didn’t confront the woman,” Mr. Doyle was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “I just said: ’Excuse me, can I ask what you thought about the incident in Brussels?’”
“She was white, and British, wearing a hijab, and she told me it was nothing to do with her,” he was quoted as saying in the newspaper. ”I said ’thank you for explaining that,’ and her little boy said goodbye to me as we went our separate ways.”
Man no longer charged with Section 19 Public Order Act offence
News • Mar 25, 2016 22:52 GMT
Matthew Doyle, 46 (30.12.69) of South Croydon was charged by police on Friday, 25 March, with an offence under Section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986.
Following discussion with the Crown Prosecution Service, Mr Doyle is no longer charged with the offence and will not be appearing at court.